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Survey Shows Americans Treat Mobile Devices as Best Friends

In this post-modern world where personal technology reigns supreme (particularly mobile devices), it is not outlandish to think that a smartphone or tablet can become your best friend. Just how intimately connected are we with our mobile devices? A new survey commissioned by Citrix found that Americans admitted to spending almost every waking minute with their devices, whether checking news and social media feeds first thing each morning, eating every meal with device in hand, or watching reality TV shows in secret.

The survey of more than 1,000 American smartphone and tablet owners ages 18 and older was conducted in January 2013 by Wakefield Research. It reveals just how deep the relationship between man and machine can run, even trumping the relationships people have with their families.

Like most close relationships, it’s not all fun and games. The survey also highlights where the relationship between user and device can go south. Among the findings:

Guess who’s coming to dinner

Any lunch date or dinner party can be ruined by an unwanted guest, but what happens when that guest is a smartphone or tablet? This problem appears to be on the rise, as a whopping 69 percent of mobile device owners said it has been one day or less since they last ate a meal without checking their device. And don’t blame the kids for ignoring you at the dinner table. Only 66 percent of Millennials checked their devices while sitting down for a meal in the past day compared to 68 percent of Gen Xers and 71 percent of Boomers.

A problem with over-sharing

While new technologies have made it easy to share videos with friends and family across the globe, a majority of mobile device users (52 percent) expressed their desire for fewer shared videos. When asked which of the following video types they wished people would stop sharing, 45 percent ranked videos of kids as their number one choice. “Holiday greetings” and pet videos ranked second and third with 42 and 41 percent, respectively. On the flip side, the survey found that we have no qualms about sharing our own video content, even at the expense of others. Among mobile device owners who recorded an embarrassing video of someone in 2012, a majority (52 percent) are saving it to share with others in 2013.

Idle time, alone time

When asked the primary reason for using their mobile devices, 64 percent of survey respondents said “to keep myself from being bored.” The next most popular reason, “to bring friends or family together,” was cited by just 32 percent of respondents, which indicates that Americans may prefer quality time with a mobile device to hanging out with a “real” friend. Additionally, 46 percent copped to watching a television show they would never watch with their friends, only in private. Among those who confessed to secret TV behavior, the top show watched behind closed doors was “Pawn Stars” (36 percent), followed by the “Storage Wars” series (32 percent), and “The Real Housewives” (28 percent).

Our most trusted confidante

Mobile users trust the information they find on the Internet by a wide margin – especially compared to information provided by their parents. In fact, 55 percent said they trust “how-to” advice taken from the Internet over advice from their parents. Though Millennials are the first generation to grow up immersed in digital technology, they don’t necessarily trust the Internet more than older Americans do: 62 percent of Gen Xers compared to 54 percent of Millennials trust advice from the mobile Web more than their parents.

A good friend is hard to find

Just as we get impatient with a friend who shows up late or takes too long to text us back, nearly a third (30 percent) of the survey respondents said that they will wait only eight seconds for a mobile Web page to load before giving up. Along the same lines, 72 percent said they are likely to abandon downloading a large file because of slow download speeds. Mobile device users will not hesitate to throw in the towel when response times are inadequate.

“These survey findings confirm suspicions that most of us are rendered completely helpless when separated from our mobile devices, perhaps even more than when we are pulled apart from our best friends,” said Mick Hollison, vice president of Integrated Marketing and Strategy, Citrix. “As our attachments to smartphones and tablets continue to grow deeper and more intimate, companies must respond with new ways to empower people to use their favorite devices across their personal and professional lives. This will enable all of us to reach new levels of productivity and prosperity.”

Additional survey highlights

The Wakefield survey also uncovered data that contrasts what mobile device owners think they know about their devices and data plans with the reality of their mobile Web behaviors. For more details, visit the Citrix ByteMobile Q1 2013 Mobile Analytics Report at

  • Despite the fact that mobile ads consume one percent of a smartphone subscriber’s monthly data volume, a majority (61 percent) of smartphone or tablet owners incorrectly believe that mobile ads don’t count against their monthly data limit.
  • Seventy percent of smartphone and tablet owners actively choose to stream content on a mobile device rather than a computer.
  • More than half (51 percent) of mobile device owners blame their provider for slow-loading Web pages, while 49 percent blame the website.
  • While a majority of mobile video is low-resolution (92 percent is less than 360p), 64 percent of survey respondents think most of the mobile videos they watch are primarily high-resolution.
  • Seventy-four percent of mobile video viewers seek out most of the video they watch, rather than wait for it to come to them via friends or advertisers.

Methodological Notes:

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( on behalf of Citrix. It was distributed among 1,000 U.S. adult smartphone or tablet owners ages 18 and older, between January 8 and January 15, 2013, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult smartphone or tablet owner population 18 and older.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is the cloud computing company that enables mobile workstyles – empowering people to work and collaborate from anywhere, accessing apps and data on any of the latest devices, as easily as they would in their own office – simply and securely. Citrix cloud computing solutions help IT and service providers build both private and public clouds – leveraging virtualization and networking technologies to deliver high-performance, elastic and cost-effective services for mobile workstyles. With market leading solutions for mobility, desktop virtualization, cloud networking, cloud platforms, collaboration, and data sharing, Citrix helps organizations of all sizes achieve the kind of speed and agility necessary to succeed in an increasingly mobile and dynamic world. Citrix products are in use at more than 260,000 organizations and by over 100 million users globally. Annual revenue in 2012 was $2.59 billion.

For Citrix Investors

This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including risks associated with the impact of the global economy and uncertainty in the IT spending environment, including in revenue growth and recognition of revenue, products and services, their development and distribution, product demand and pipeline, economic and competitive factors, including risks associated with international growth and IT consolidation, as well as other risks detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Citrix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.

Citrix® is a registered trademark of Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one or more of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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