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UK Consumers Spend over 9 Hours per Day Consuming Media

Daily time spent with digital media continues rapid growth

October 16, 2014 | Media Buying

According to the latest time spent with media forecasts from eMarketer, the average time spent consuming major media per day for the average UK adult consumer will reach 9 hours, 6 minutes in 2014, up from 8 hours, 35 minutes last year.

Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by UK Adults, 2010-2014 (hrs:mins)

The total amount of time spent with media reflects simultaneous consumption and is likely longer than most people spend consuming media daily. For example, if a person uses a mobile device for 1 hour while watching television, it counts as 1 hour for each activity, or 2 hours total. The estimates do not attempt to define a primary focus during simultaneous usage.

The amount of time UK consumers spend with digital media has grown rapidly over the past four years, rising from just over 2 hours in 2010 to an estimated 4 hours, 5 minutes per day this year, and now accounts for 44.9% of total time spent. eMarketer’s definition of digital media includes all time spent online on desktop and laptop computers and with other connected devices (such as streaming video through over-the-top services), as well as all nonvoice time spent with mobile devices including smartphones, feature phones and tablets.

Growth of Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by UK Adults, 2010-2014 (% change)

Continued smartphone and tablet adoption has boosted time spent with activities across mobile devices, which will grow 34.8% this year, eMarketer forecasts. Overall, UK adults will spend an average of 1 hour, 55 minutes per day on nonvoice mobile activities, including mobile internet usage on phones and tablets.

UK adults still spend considerably more time with TV than with any other single medium, and in 2014, they’ll be in front their televisions for an average of 3 hours, 15 minutes per day, eMarketer estimates. That’s down from 2013, but by a mere minute.

Comparative Estimates: Average Time Spent per Day with Desktop/Laptop Internet in the UK, 2011-2014 (hrs:mins)

To develop our time spent with media figures, eMarketer analyzed more than 150 data points collected from over 20 research institutions. For example, to forecast time spent on desktop and laptop computers, we compiled and evaluated figures from audience measurement companies, industry associations, academic institutions, major online media platforms and other research firms—all of which were analyzed to account for discrepancies and convergence in definitions, methodology and historical accuracy.

Aside from eMarketer, the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) is the only source to give an estimate of daily time spent per day on desktop and laptop computers across the overall UK population, as opposed to just among internet users. Ofcom’s numbers are higher than eMarketer’s, but include time spent on the computer doing offline activities. Meanwhile, most other research firms measure time spent on PCs while connected to the internet, and here eMarketer’s estimate of 2 hours, 39 minutes for 2013 is closely in line with a cluster of estimates from Ipsos MORI, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA). Our 2014 number is slightly higher.

Comparative Estimates: Average Time Spent per Day with Smartphones in the UK, 2012-2014 (hrs:mins)

eMarketer’s 2014 estimate of time spent per day with smartphones in the UK is closely in line with Ofcom’s, which again looked at all consumers, not just smartphone users. The one firm that did look only at smartphone users, Millward Brown, also came in with a very similar estimate when eMarketer’s figure was adjusted for that population.

Comparative Estimates: Average Time Spent per Day Watching TV in the UK, 2012-2014 (hrs:mins)

Meanwhile, estimates of daily time spent with TV are more variable, with a high for 2014 of over 4 hours estimated by Ofcom across the entire UK population—but this also includes digital content streamed and viewed on a TV set. Among TV viewers only, the UK’s Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board’s (BARB’s) 2013 estimate of 3 hours, 52 minutes was higher than eMarketer’s, but it also included children ages 4 and older, while eMarketer’s figure includes adults only.

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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