- Time spent with mobile increased by an average of 31 minutes per US adult in 2020, reaching 4 hours and 16 minutes.
- This year, the time US adults spend on mobile devices will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate than last year.
As the US begins to emerge from the pandemic, people are re-entering the world with new habits, including new mobile behaviors. This year, the time US adults spend on mobile devices will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate than last year. Nearly a third of their daily time spent with media will be on mobile.
Whether hunkered down at home or working in jobs that require a physical presence, most people have changed their behaviors over the past year—either to preserve their health or because of changes in options for entertainment, shopping, school, or work. That’s had a profound impact on how media is consumed.
Prior to the pandemic, we expected growth in mobile time spent to slow and level off within a few years. Instead, average time spent on smartphones, tablets, and feature phones in 2020 increased by just over half an hour per day to reach 4 hours, 16 minutes (4:16), about 28 minutes more than we had predicted back in November 2019.
Last year’s 13.8% growth was mobile’s fastest annual increase since 2014. Growth will slow to 2% or 3% year over year (YoY) through the end of our forecast in 2023, but these growth rates sit on top of a higher base. In 2023, the average US adult will spend 4:35 per day on mobile devices.
Mobile will account for close to a third (33.2%) of time spent with any form of media in 2021. By the end of 2023, that share will climb to 35.0%. The 4:23 per day that the average US adult will spend on mobile this year will also account for 54.8% of the 7:59 of daily time spent with digital media.
A large majority (72.3%) of mobile time will be spent on smartphones in 2021. At 3:10 per day, time spent with smartphones will be up a modest 4.6% over last year. But this follows 2020’s surge of 17.7%, the fastest growth in smartphone time spent since 2014. Even more impressive, 2020’s big increase followed an unusually strong year for smartphone growth in 2019, when time spent increased 13.5%, due in part to rapid growth for premium subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), TikTok, and podcasting. We expect growth to slow to a more sustainable 3% to 5% through 2023.
Tablets also had a strong 2020. Time spent was up 5.7% YoY to 1:13, the first meaningful increase these devices had seen since 2017. We expect 2020 to be peak year for tablet use, which will slowly decrease through 2023—but with a higher baseline than we had expected before the pandemic.
Among the 219.2 million adult smartphone users, the average daily time spent on smartphones in 2021 will hit 3:46, up 8 minutes from 2020. The 136.1 million adult tablet users will spend a daily average of 2:16 on those devices in 2021, down 2 minutes from 2020. In contrast, tablet time increased by 7 minutes in 2020 to reach slightly more than 2:18—the highest average usage since 2016.
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This article was originally published on eMarketer.
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