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Growth of Time Spent on Mobile Devices Slows

Growth to slow to single-digit pace starting in 2016

October 7, 2015 | Media Buying

Not surprisingly, Americans are spending an increasing share of their time on their mobile devices. But according to the latest eMarketer forecast, the channel’s growth rate is slowing considerably.

Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by US Adults, 2011-2017 (hrs:mins)

Nonvoice time spent on tablets and mobile phones will grow just 11.3% in 2015 to 2 hours and 54 minutes. Since 2012, there has been a considerable slowdown in the growth rate of time spent on mobile devices, and eMarketer expects that slowdown to continue. In 2016, growth of time spent on mobile will fall into the single digits, with US adults spending an average of 3 hours and 8 minutes per day on mobile devices, excluding voice activities.

“As the data shows, a large majority of American adults are already using mobile devices,” said eMarketer forecasting director Monica Peart. “This means there will be fewer new smartphone and tablet users added each year.

Growth of Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by US Adults, 2011-2017 (% change)

“Also, the number of activities currently possible on mobile devices limits the amount of time a user can spend per day. For these reasons, growth in the amount of time spent on mobile devices will slow down significantly.”

Much of the growth in time spent on mobile devices will come from people spending more time within apps. In 2015, US smartphone and tablet users will spend an average of 3 hours and 5 minutes a day using mobile apps, up from 2 hours 51 minutes in 2014. By 2016, mobile device users will spend 3 hours 15 minutes per day using apps. Time spent on mobile browser activities will hold steady at 51 minutes this year and next.

Average Time Spent per Day with Mobile Internet Among US Smartphone and Tablet Users, In-App vs. Mobile Web, 2011-2017 (hrs:mins)

Despite the slowing growth rate, mobile is the only major medium eMarketer expects to grow this year and next with respect to time spent. eMarketer expects US adults will spend an average of 4 hours and 11 minutes watching traditional TV, down 4.1% from 4 hours 22 minutes in 2014. In 2016, time spent with TV will fall another 3.1%, to 4 hours and 3 minutes. Meanwhile, video consumption as a whole, across all channels, will hold roughly at current levels—suggesting consumers are swapping TV time for digital video time.

Average Time Spent per Day with Digital Video by US Adults, by Device, 2015 (hrs:mins)

With respect to adults’ listening habits, time spent with traditional radio will hold relatively steady for the next two years, declining by 1 minute in 2015 to 1 hour and 27 minutes. In 2016, it will decline by another 2 minutes. Digital radio will more than make up for those declines, rising by 3 minutes in 2015 to 51 minutes. In 2016, adults will spend an average of 54 minutes listening to digital radio.

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