NEWSROOM eMarketer's latest news, announcements, and media resources.

US Adults Added One Hour of Digital Time in 2020

Smartphone time surpassed 3 hours per day for the first time in 2020

January 26, 2021 (New York, NY) – Amid the pandemic, US adults spent 1 hour more per day on digital activities (across all devices) than they did in 2019, according to eMarketer’s latest time spent forecast from Insider Intelligence. Total digital time is now on track to surpass 8 hours by the end of 2022.

In 2020, US adults spent 7 hours, 50 minutes (7:50) per day consuming digital media*, up 15.0% from 6:49 in 2019, the biggest increase since 2012. It’s also considerably higher than our Q1 2020 projection (7:31).

Digital time accounted for 57.5% of adults’ daily media time in 2020, and that figure will reach 60.2% by 2022.

“Time spent with almost all digital devices experienced an uptick in 2020,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Zach Goldner. “Connected TVs and video game consoles are the main beneficiaries of the cord-cutting trend due to increases in the number of subscription OTT and ad-free video-on-demand users and content offerings.”

Digital time among US adults by media type in 2020 (hours:minutes):

  • Social Network Time: 1:05, up from 56 minutes in 2019
  • Digital Video Time: 2:13, up from 1:46 in 2019
  • Digital Audio Time: 1:29, up from 1:22 in 2019

“As normalcy returns in 2021, overall digital consumption will hold all of last year’s gains,” Goldner said. “Desktop/laptop time will return to negative growth this year, but smartphone time will more than make up the difference.”

Smartphones are driving a significant portion of adults’ total digital time. In fact, smartphone time surpassed 3 hours for the first time in 2020 (3:13), up from 2:45 in 2019.

Looking ahead, growth in digital time will continue, albeit at much smaller rates. US adults’ daily digital time will gain another 7 minutes in 2021 to 7:57. It will then surpass 8 hours (8:02) in 2022 for the first time.

 

* time spent with each medium includes all time spent with that medium, regardless of multitasking; for example, 1 hour of multitasking on desktops/laptops while watching TV is counted as 1 hour for TV and 1 hour for desktops/laptops

 

Methodology
eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. 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 available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.

About eMarketer
Founded in 1996, eMarketer is the first place to look for research about marketing in a digital world. eMarketer enables thousands of companies worldwide to understand marketing trends, consumer behavior and get the data needed to succeed in the competitive and fast-changing digital economy. eMarketer’s flagship product, eMarketer PRO, is home to all of eMarketer’s research, including forecasts, analyst reports, aggregated data from 3,000+ sources, interviews with industry leaders, articles, charts and comparative market data. eMarketer’s free daily newsletters span the US, EMEA and APAC and are read by more than 200,000 readers globally. In 2016 eMarketer, Inc. was acquired by European media giant Axel Springer S.E.

 

For more information, contact:

Douglas Clark
Global Director of Public Relations
646-863-8807
dclark@emarketer.com

Corinne Weir
Public Relations Coordinator
646-863-8814
cweir@emarketer.com

Posted on January 26, 2021.