Give up mobile Web access or alcohol? Majority choose booze

Fifty-eight percent of people say that if they had to forgo alcohol or mobile Internet access for one week, they would become temporary teetotalers.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Smartphones -- better than beer? Sarah Tew/CNET

Some people like to drink, but that doesn't mean it's as important to them as surfing the Web from a mobile device.

In a study released Wednesday by management-consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, 58 percent of respondents said that they would rather ditch booze for a week than their mobile Internet access. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said that they would dump coffee and movies before they would even consider setting aside their handsets for seven days.

The survey included about 1,000 smartphone and tablet users across Europe. Consulting further narrowed the results to five major European countries -- Germany, France, UK, Italy and Spain -- because they represent such large numbers of mobile users.

That said, this isn't the first time (and likely won't be the last) that we've heard that mobile devices are more preferable to consumers than certain extracurricular activities. In 2011, for example, a study found that 70 percent of Americans would gladly give up alcohol and 55 percent coffee rather than their mobile devices. A whopping 40 percent said they'd go shoeless rather than lose their iPhone.

The studies suggest a near-obsession with mobile devices that has enveloped the world. More often than not, people are found, heads down, looking at their smartphones in public. While there was once a time when laptops dominated Starbucks shops, smartphones and tablets have made their presence known.

The obsession with mobile devices has hit such a fever pitch that the study from Boston Consulting Group finds that 77 percent would give up fast food, 22 percent would ditch their cars, and 17 percent would nix sex for a week just to keep their handsets. And 14 percent said they would give up anything to keep their mobile devices in-hand.