There's a New Victor in the Battle Between Mobile Devices & TVs

Mike Dano
News Analysis
Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies
6/5/2019



Americans' love affair with mobile devices is now official: According to market research company eMarketer, US consumers this year spent more time using their mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) than they did staring at their TVs.

"We’ve expected that mobile would overtake TV for a while, but seeing it happen is still surprising," Yoram Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst, said in a release. "As recently as 2014, the average US adult watched nearly 2 hours more TV than they spent on their phones."

Specifically, eMarketer said the average US adult will spend three hours and 43 minutes (3:43) on mobile devices in 2019, just above the 3:35 hours spent on TV.

In the "mobile devices" category, smartphones dominated with 2:55 hours per day. The firm said tablet use among US adults continues to lose ground, having peaked at 1:11 hours daily in 2017 and dipping to 1:08 hours this year.

However, "using" a device doesn't necessarily mean pointing one's eyeballs at it. eMarketer said that, in the smartphone category, people mostly used apps. And in the popular apps category, podcasts and music dominate.

"Digital audio apps continue to add minutes because people are streaming more music on their phones, and podcasts have taken off in popularity in the past few years," Wurmser said.

[Editor's Note: Speaking of podcasts, check out Light Reading's contribution to the digital audio wasteland on Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.]

How did eMarketer come by its findings? According to the company: "eMarketer’s methodology for its US time spent with media forecast is based on an analysis of 2,265 metrics from 130 sources. This analysis involves the collection of third-party data -- primarily survey data -- from adult respondents, asking them about their media use habits. Data is also sourced from online and mobile activity tracking services, government data and interviews with industry experts."

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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