Well now: Mobile usage is even bigger than you think
Study: Time spent on smartphones has double in just the past three years
March 23, 2017
We laughingly say we’re addicted to our phones and joke about finger injuries caused by too much texting.
But do you know exactly how much you use your phone? Do you know how much we all do?
It’s become a shockingly dominant pastime. In fact, Millennials spend more time on mobile than they do watching live TV, and TV’s big advantage among adults 35-49 is shrinking.
That’s according to a new report from comScore, which examines cross-platform media consumption.
It finds that smartphone usage has not simply grown over the past three years. It’s actually doubled.
In that same period, tablet usage is up 26 percent, while desktop usage is down 8 percent.
Interestingly, time with smartphones doesn’t seem to be replacing desktop – it’s not shrinking fast enough to draw that conclusion. Instead, smartphones offer people additional time on the internet when they wouldn’t have otherwise been going online, such as when they’re out of the house or watching television.
The study found the average person spends two hours and 51 minutes a day on mobile. Per month, that translates into more than a trillion minutes of smartphone usage across America.
ComScore notes that’s roughly double the usage for desktop at its peak.
Mobile now accounts for 70 percent of all digital media time. It’s little wonder, then, that advertisers are rapidly moving their dollars to mobile. They need to be where the eyeballs are.
A recent forecast from ZenithOptimedia predicted that worldwide mobile spending will top desktop for the first time this year, and eMarketer puts mobile at nearly one-fifth of overall U.S. ad dollars.
Catching up to TV
Among young people, mobile has already caught up to TV in time spent. Millennials spend 23.1 hours per week on their smartphones, compared with 19.1 hours watching live TV.
By contrast, adults 35-54 remain more devoted to live TV (26.6 hours) than their phones (18.5 hours), but the gap is getting smaller.
This is, in part, why digital overtook TV as the No. 1 advertising medium last year. Advertisers want to reach young people, and the place to find them is now online rather than via TV.
Mobile vs. desktop
Perhaps another question is how long until desktop disappears entirely—will that ever happen? ComScore notes almost one in eight internet users currently are mobile-only. The number’s much higher among younger users, with nearly a quarter of women 18-24 mobile-only.
Does that mean desktop will someday die out? Probably not entirely. Desktops remain practical options for work, and some people simply don’t have the desire to be connected 24-7.
Still, that number is clearly dwindling—and the people who do use desktop are of less interest to advertisers than the Millennials who are chained to their smartphones.
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