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US Time Spent on Mobile to Overtake Desktop

Nonvoice mobile activity to account for nearly 20% of media time

Mobile has become so key to consumers’ lives that for the first time this year, time spent on nonvoice mobile activities will surpass time spent online on desktop and laptop computers, eMarketer estimates.

US adults will spend 43.6% of their overall media time with digital this year, including 19.4% on mobile—compared to 19.2% on laptops and PCs. Time spent with mobile phones and tablets, excluding voice calls, has risen from 13.4% of all media time last year, and has nearly tripled since 2011.

eMarketer’s estimates of time spent with media include all time spent within each medium, regardless of multitasking. Consumers who spend an hour watching TV while multitasking on tablet devices, for example, would be counted as spending an hour with TV and an additional hour on mobile.

The shift from desktop to mobile, whether smartphone or tablet, is happening across a variety of activities, including social networking and digital video viewing. And tablets are key to the trend. As social networking and video reach plateaus in terms of share of total desktop time (around 29% and 18%, respectively), these activities are growing more quickly on smartphones, and especially tablets. The share of all tablet time spent with video, for example, will nearly double this year, from 10% to 19%.

This is eMarketer’s first time breaking out time spent on tablets and smartphones. It is also eMarketer’s first time creating an overall time spent with digital figure. Previously, online time (desktop, laptop) and mobile time (on feature phones, smartphones and tablets) were kept separate.

This article originally stated that US adults would spend 44.4% of all media time with digital this year; the correct figure is 43.6%. This article also originally stated that nonvoice mobile accounted for 13.5% of total media time in 2012 and 19.8% this year; the correct figures are 13.4% and 19.2%, respectively. The correct figure for share of 2013 media time spent online on a desktop or laptop computer is 19.2%, not 19.5% as originally stated.

eMarketer bases its estimates of time spent with media on the analysis of estimates from other research firms, consumer media consumption, and device adoption trends.


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