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UK Adults Spend More Time on Mobile Devices than on PCs

Adults in the country will spend an average of 2 hours, 26 minutes each day on mobile in 2015

April 16, 2015 | Media Buying

This year, for the first time ever, the amount of time UK adults spend daily with mobile devices will surpass the amount of time spent online via desktop and laptop computers, according to eMarketer’s estimates of media consumption among UK adults.

Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by UK Adults, 2011-2015 (hrs:mins)

While time spent online via desktop or laptop computers has risen minimally over the past several years—and is expected to see year-over-year growth of just 3 minutes for 2015—gains in time spent with mobile devices have been much more vigorous.

UK adults will spend an average of 2 hours, 26 minutes each day with mobile devices this year, up 27 minutes from 2014 and an almost fivefold increase from 2011, when that figure stood at just 31 minutes. As a result, total time spent on nonvoice mobile activities will surpass time spent on desktop/laptop computers by 13 minutes—the first time mobile will have overtaken PC use by this metric in the UK.

“One trend underlies much of eMarketer’s time spent estimates: UK adults aren’t moving their media consumption habits to digital platforms at the expense of traditional ones; rather, they are adding it to their overall media day. This also holds true for platforms like social media, with time spent via mobile adding to time spent via laptops and desktops,” explained Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer.

UK adults will spend an average of 9 hours, 34 minutes each day with major media in 2015, up from 9 hours, 7 minutes in 2014, eMarketer estimates. The total includes simultaneous media consumption. For example, if someone uses a mobile device for an hour while simultaneously watching television, it counts as an hour for each activity; our estimates do not attempt to define “primary” focus during simultaneous usage.

Time spent with digital devices in the UK has grown rapidly over the past four years, rising from less than 2.5 hours in 2011 to an estimated 4 hours, 39 minutes per day in 2015. Within the mobile category, smartphones continue to account for the largest share of time spent. As a proportion of UK adults’ total daily media time in 2015, smartphones will account for 15.8%, or 1 hour, 31 minutes.

Share of Time Spent per Day with Major Media by UK Adults, 2011-2015 (% of total)

Time spent with tablets will continue to lag time spent with smartphones, but the gap is closing. In 2014, tablets accounted for 6.8% of UK adults’ total media time each day—half the proportion for smartphones. eMarketer estimates that tablet time will stand at 8.4% in 2015—just 7.4 percentage points behind smartphones’ 15.8% share.

Tablets’ rising prominence will also be reflected in growth figures for average time spent. This year, the amount of time UK adults spend with tablets will expand 28.8% over 2014, eMarketer estimates. This will be greater than the growth in smartphone time spent (21.9%) but will also mark a slowdown in the emphatic tablet time spent increases seen over the past four years, reflecting maturation in tablet penetration.

eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

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