Ringtones die out as younger generations keep their phones on silent, finds research

Data shows that fewer people are downloading ringtones. (Getty Images)
Data shows that fewer people are downloading ringtones. (Getty Images)

Research has revealed that ringtones are slowly fading into obscurity.

Data shows that downloads have fallen by a quarter in recent years – more than a decade after Crazy Frog made its Swedish creator £40 million after its 2004 release.

Mobile phone analysts Sensor Tower report that UK users installing ringtone-related apps decreased by 20 per cent, from 4.6 million in 2016 to 3.7 million in 2020.

The trend has been put down to younger people choosing to keep their phones on silent, with a ringing device increasingly the preserve of older generations.

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Experts have told the Daily Telegraph that, since teens and twenty-somethings are spending so much time on their phones, a ringtone isn't really necessary to alert them to an incoming call.

They also point to the rise of wearable tech, particularly among women, that means people are now alerted to incoming calls by vibrations on their wrists through Apple Watches or Fitbits.

Additionally, previous research by Ofcom discovered that twice as many 16 to 24-year-olds – who they branded "generation mute" – preferred messaging to phone calls.

In 2017, they reported that 36 per cent of this age group felt the former was the most important method of communication, while 15 per cent said the latter was.

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Even millennials, the oldest of whom turn 40 this year, are keen to shirk phone calls.

A US study found that 80 per cent of this generation felt most comfortable communicating via text or online.

What's more, a recent survey found that one of the things that millennials believe makes you old is to talk on the phone.

In a poll, by energy retailer Love Energy Savings, an incredible 15 per cent of respondents felt that the innocent action dramatically ages someone – along with using cash (28 per cent) and smoking (23 per cent).

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