A new study from the Department of Health, released today, has shown a 7% decline in Daily Average Phone Usage (DAPU) in the last year, against all expectations.

It is the first time numbers have fallen since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007.

The researchers claim that an increased awareness of the health risks and social consequences of phone addiction, made widely known throughout the year, could explain the dip.

For example, a study last year showed that people who didn’t use social media were 34% more satisfied with their social lives.

On average, each minute we spend on our phone will bring about 1 minute of usage for 3 other people picking up our emails and texts.

This also means that not using our phones has an exponential effect on how much others use theirs too.

But beyond the health impacts, Vanessa Bobinton, a sociologist at the research centre, thinks the change is part of a general shift in consumer preferences:

“People are craving more real, tangible experiences. The short term rewards of Likes and Comments are losing the allure that once held people to their phones”.

If the trend continues into next year, the researchers believe we’ll start to see knock-on effects for both the country’s economy and social well-being.

NFN's Oliver Frost contributed to this report.