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Soyoung Ahn (Yonsei University BarunICT Research Center)

Yonsei University’s Barun ICT Research Center strives to empirically analyze PC/mobile platform usage behavior by utilizing demographic data on gender, age, region, occupation, income, level of education, and marital status from various angles. The following research provides objective in-depth information on important social issues relevant to ICT use, such as alienation from information, the digital divide, and smartphone addiction. All of these studies were based on datasets constructed by Barun ICT Research Center.

• For the over-50 age group, men overtake women in terms of Smartphone application usage time
• Men over 50 are interested in a variety of applications, including communication, social media, finance, real estate, sports, travel, jobs, and education

According to a study from Yonsei University’s Barun ICT Research Center, for those under 40, men spend less time using smartphone applications (apps) than women, whereas the opposite is true among those above the age of 50. On average, men in their 50s spend approximately 2 hours and 37 minutes longer using smartphone apps each week than women, whereas men in their 60s spent 1 hour and 31 minutes longer. Men over 50, following their retirement, have a comparative increase in spare time, which is identified as the cause for more time spent on their smartphones than women.


Under most categories, men in their 50s and 60s have a longer usage time than women. However, for games and apps such as KakaoTalk, which is in the area of communication, women spend more time on their smartphones than men do. On average, male smartphone users above 50 use a wider
variety of smartphone app categories than women within the same age bracket.

For both men and women in their 50s and 60s, over 30% of the total mobile app usage time falls under the category of games. Similar to other age brackets, the usage patterns of people in their 50s and 60s show that they spend an excessively greater amount of time on certain categories of
mobile apps.

Men in their 50s spend more time on mobile apps in the areas of communication, social media (Internet groups, blogs, SNS, boards, etc.); finance and real estate; sports, leisure, and travel; and jobs and education, than men in their 40s. Considering that men in their 50s spend an average of approximately 4 hours and 36 minutes less time per week using smartphone apps than men in their 40s, this is an exceptional phenomenon.

Although people in their 40s have better adaptability to new information technology than those in their 50s, for reasons such as retirement, people tend to have less real-life social relations during their 50s and appear to spend more time on communication and social media mobile apps as they try to supplement this through the mobile world.


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