Six Surprising Facts About the Way We Spend Our Time with Media

It is common knowledge that US consumers fill their waking hours with media usage. But how people split up their media time may surprise you. Here's some data drawn from eMarketer's latest estimates for time spent with media.

No. 1: US adults spend much more time with nondigital radio than they do with social networks.
There’s no shortage of buzz about social media. There’s next to none about radio. (If “buzz” and “radio” appear in the same sentence, somebody is probably complaining about static.)

But according to eMarketer’s latest forecast, US adults’ average daily time spent with nondigital radio is much higher than their time spent with social media. The average for radio in 2017: 1 hour, 26 minutes. The average for social media: 40 minutes via mobile devices and 11 minutes via desktop/laptop.

No. 2: We’re in a period of gradual change—not of wild volatility—in the ways US adults spend their time with media.
“Wild volatility" would have been a fair way to describe the shifting landscape at the beginning of this decade, when rapidly growing smartphone penetration was a highly disruptive force. But that phase has passed. With smartphone penetration expected to gain less than a single percentage point per year by 2020, media consumption is in something of a lull until the Next Big Thing comes along.

Among the media categories for which eMarketer gauges time spent, there aren’t any we anticipate will see double-digit increases or decreases next year. (Mobile video comes closest, with an 8.7% rise expected.) Overall, time spent with digital media is expected to grow a modest 3.5%.

No. 3: Despite the ascent of other social networks, US adults are still increasing (very slightly) the amount of time they spend on Facebook.
Calculated across the whole adult population, daily time spent with Facebook is expected to rise from 25 minutes in 2017 to 26 minutes in 2018 and 27 minutes in 2019.

It’s not just a matter of Facebook penetration still inching up. Calculated just among users of the platform, average time spent is expected to gain one minute per year in that period as well—same as the increase among users of Instagram and Snapchat.

No. 4: Though excitement about tablets has died down, they account for more than one-third of adults’ smartphone-plus-tablet non-voice time.
For 2017, eMarketer pegs average daily non-voice time at 2 hours, 3 minutes for smartphones and at 1 hour, 12 minutes for tablets.



Tablet users averaged more daily web time this year via their devices (26 minutes) than did smartphone users (16 minutes). Smartphones more than made up for that deficit, though, with much higher average in-app time among users—2 hours, 11 minutes, vs. tablets users' 1 hour, 27 minutes.

No. 5....

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