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Mobile Takes Majority Share of UK Time with Digital Media

Next year, more than half of all media time in the UK will be spent with digital devices

November 9, 2016 | Media Buying

In 2016, for the first time, adults in the UK will spend more time with their mobile devices than with desktop and laptop computers, eMarketer projects. This year, mobile time—which includes nonvoice time with tablets and mobile phones—will account for more than a quarter of daily media time for the average adult, at 2 hours and 29 minutes, representing an 11.8% rise over last year.

Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by UK Adults, 2016 (hrs:mins)

Traditional TV viewing—that is, linear broadcast television viewing on a TV set—will represent just under a third of daily media time this year. By 2018, the end of eMarketer’s forecast period, mobile will have a 29.5% share of total media time spent per day—just a single percentage point behind TV.

“Although TV viewing time looks to be suffering at the hands of mobile, TV content remains incredibly popular,” explained eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. “In fact, small proportions of digital and mobile time are actually taken up by TV-like viewing, with a plethora of on-demand and streaming options being keenly embraced by UK consumers.”

eMarketer has slightly downgraded its estimates for consumer time with digital media since its previous forecast in April. Overall digital media usage will now account for more than half of total media consumption beginning in 2017—not this year. eMarketer has also slightly reduced the amount of time spent with smartphones, although growth in that area continues to be strong. These updates are in part thanks to new research showing data speeds are getting faster and people are becoming more efficient on apps—which means less time spent using them.

Mobile Share of Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by UK Adults vs. Mobile Share of UK Total Media Ad Spending, 2016-2018 (% of total)

As consumers continue to spend more time with their mobile devices, the percentage of ad spending allocated to mobile will rise at an even faster rate. By 2018, eMarketer estimates, mobile’s share of advertising spend will reach 44.5%, even as it accounts for just 29.5% of time spent with media. For comparison, eMarketer estimates that marketers will allocate 19% of ad spending to desktop- and laptop-based placements, as consumers spend 23% of their daily media time with desktop and laptop PCs.

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