Phonemance vs romance: Brits choose phone over partner

8 February 2016

  • More than half would rather not see their partner for a day than their phone
  • Half of Brits check their phone before talking to their partner in the morning
  • Three quarters (75%) don’t have mobile insurance, despite spending 20 hrs a day with phone.

Britain is head over heels in love with mobile phones as new research* reveals we cherish our handsets even more than our partners.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the poll from Nationwide FlexPlus reveals that more than half of Brits (58%) couldn’t go longer than a day without checking their phone - double the amount that couldn’t go without speaking to their partner (28%) – while a third (33%) would rather forgo a weekend with their partner rather than their mobile.

The research, which highlights the value of mobile phone insurance, revealed more than half (53%) check their device before talking to their partner when they wake up. And given the choice, four in ten (42%) would rather forget their anniversary than lose their phone when asked to choose between the two – demonstrating the value we place on being in constant contact with the world.

Findings from the poll revealed the average person is with their phone for some 20 hours a day, using them in bed (59%), on the toilet (43%), in the bath (17%) and even in the shower (5%).

This phone fixation means that two thirds of people (66%) admit they would feel lost, unhappy, stressed or anxious without their handset, while phone use has become a habit for nearly half of Brits (47%).

While people spend a good deal of time chatting to their partners (around 3.5 hours a day on average), only a quarter (24%) are completely devoted to the conversation, with the rest admitting to browsing the internet (58%), texting (41%) or checking social media (34%) at the same time. And the time people spend using their phone isn’t too far behind, taking up a considerable two hours 42 minutes each day.

Dan King, Nationwide’s Head of FlexPlus Current Account, said: “It would seem many people prioritise using their mobile phone over spending time with their partner and would struggle to cope without their phone for more than a day. This shows just how ingrained phones have become in our culture, as we often retain our memories, information and contacts on just one device.

“But despite this reliance, most people have no mobile phone insurance in place, meaning they would have to stump up the cost of replacing their phone themselves. With the latest models costing in excess of over £500, this could be a big hit to their finances. It’s worth considering taking a good quality mobile phone insurance, such as that offered through Nationwide’s FlexPlus current account, to avoid ending up out of pocket.”

Nationwide’s FlexPlus current account, which is ranked as the UK’s best packaged account**, offers a range of benefits including worldwide family travel insurance, commission-free cash withdrawals abroad, worldwide family phone insurance and UK and European breakdown cover, all for just £10 a month.

Notes to Editors

*One Poll research: total sample size was 2,000 UK adults in a relationship and who own a smartphone. The survey ran from the 015/01/2016 to 19/01/2016.

** As awarded by Moneynet 2014, 2015 and 2016.

FlexPlus Key Information

Full information can be found here.

Account Eligibility

  • FlexPlus is open to new and existing customers aged 18 years and over living in the UK
  • Single and joint account options available.

Account Fee

  • FlexPlus has a £10 per month fee.

Credit Interest

  • 3% AER (2.96% gross p.a) on credit balances up to £2,500
  • Credit interest is not payable on balances over £2,500.


  • Worldwide Family Travel Insurance
  • Commission-Free Cash Withdrawals Abroad
  • Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance
  • UK and European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance
  • Extended Warranty Cover
  • ID Theft Assistance
  • Worldwide Card Emergency Assistance.

Exclusions and limitations apply to all FlexPlus insurances.

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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