People Are Now Spending More Time on Smartphones Than They Are Watching TV

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This chart marks a significant shift for marketers.

According to new research from eMarketer, in 2019 – “for the first time ever, US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV, with smartphone use dominating that time spent.”

Mobile vs TV time spent chart

I mean, we’ve seen this coming for some time, but still, it’s a significant shift. 

As per the report:

“The average US adult will spend 3 hours, 43 minutes (referenced as 3:43) on mobile devices in 2019, just above the 3:35 spent on TV. Of time spent on mobile, US consumers will spend 2:55 on smartphones, a 9-minute increase from last year. In 2018, mobile time spent was 3:35, with TV time spent at 3:44.”

The average consumer is also now spending 2:57 in apps, versus 0:26 in mobile browsers. Listening to digital audio (music and podcasts primarily) is the most common app usage, while social network activity comes in second.

As noted, the significance of the mobile shift has long been a known factor, but it is worth highlighting the point at which the threshold is crossed, and we see consumer habits focus increasingly on their mobile devices, as opposed to the more communal TV experience. 

And that’s where eMarketer predicts a future downturn in the same:

“Consumers’ use of smartphones will continue to make up the majority of their media consumption, but we predict that use will plateau by 2020, as consumers become increasingly uneasy about overuse of mobile devices.”

No doubt your marketing strategies are already re-aligned with the modern consumption shift, but again, it is worth noting this change, and taking stock of how people are now spending their time. TV advertising is still highly effective, but the cheaper – and now more popular – mobile experience could prove more beneficial, depending on your approach.

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