Dude, Where’s My Phone?

— October 02, 2012

Lookout, a mobile security company, released findings from the first-ever phone loss study, which revealed that lost phones, if unrecovered, could cost U.S. users more than $30 billion in 2012. For the BYOD enterprise, that could actually mean savings, but in a corporate-liable environment, who’s going to cover the bill?

The analysis, from more than 15 million of Lookout’s users, found that demographics and behavior are the largest factors influencing phone loss. Over the course of last year, the company located 9 million lost smartphones, which equals one phone every 3.5 seconds. The survey showed that U.S. consumers lose their phone about once a year. If unrecovered, that could cost every smartphone owner more than $250 a year each.

“Each day, $7 million worth of phones are lost by our users alone, and if unrecovered, it would take a significant toll not only on our wallets, but on our psyche too,” said Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and CTO of Lookout. “Safeguarding your smartphone starts with protecting it from the number one risk you face - losing it.”

What are the odds?
People in some U.S. cities have a higher chance of losing their phone. Philadelphia residents lose their phone two times more than New York City dwellers, while San Franciscans and New Yorkers lose their phones three times more than Chicagoans.

The top 10 cities in the U.S. for phone loss during last year were:

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Seattle
  3. Oakland
  4. Long Beach
  5. Newark
  6. Detroit
  7. Cleveland
  8. Baltimore
  9. New York
  10. Boston
Interestingly, many of the cities with highest rates of lost and stolen phones also were in the top ranks for the FBI’s most recent crime statistics. Cleveland, Detroit, Oakland and Newark, were amongst the 10 cities with the highest crime rates in the U.S.

Dude, Where’s My Phone?
Lookout also discovered that specific locations invited loss more than others, with coffee shops and bars topping the list. In addition, people lose their phone most often at night; 67% of phones are located between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time.

The top 10 places for lost or stolen phones in the U.S. were:
  1. Coffee Shop
  2. Bar
  3. Office
  4. Restaurants
  5. Apartment & Condo
  6. Grocery Store
  7. Gas Station
  8. Residential
  9. Pharmacy or Drug Store
  10. Park
The study unveiled in the most common venues a person is most likely to lose their phone, shedding insight into the character of each city as well. For example:
  • In Chicago, the 3rd most common venue to lose your phone is a church.
  • In New York City, the top place to lose your phone is a fast food restaurant.
  • In San Francisco, the leading venue to lose your phone is a coffee shop.
  • In London, the leading venue to lose your phone is a pub.
As part of the study, Lookout Labs also created the Mobile Lost & Found interactive website for people to discover the places where phones are most often lost, the likelihood of losing a phone by region, and the financial impact of lost phones.

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