Mobile Internet Usage Reaches 800 Hours A Year

The mobile internet has expanded the amount of time people spend consuming media each day, reaching an average of 479 minutes, according to Zenith's latest Media Consumption Forecast.

This number is projected to reach 495 minutes a day by 2021. 

“Mobile internet technology has expanded both the amount of time people spend with media and what counts as media,” says Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting, Zenith. “Media now means comparing prices on the high street, sharing jokes with friends and booking your next holiday, opening up new opportunities for brands to connect with consumers.”

Television remains the biggest medium globally, projected to attract 167 minutes of viewing each day in 2019, although Zenith predicts it will fall to 165 minutes a day by 2021. 



This attention is likely being grabbed by the Internet. Zenith expects the average amount of time people around the world spend accessing the mobile internet to rise from 80 minutes daily in 2015  to 130 minutes this year,  averaging 13% growth a year.

Annually, consumers will spend 800 hours using their mobile internet devices this year, which will increase to 930 hours, or 39 full days, by 2021.

Online usage growth, however, is slowly beginning to slow down now that most people in the developed world who want a mobile device have one, and ownership is becoming common in developing markets. Zenith forecasts that annual growth will drop an average 8% between 2018 and 2021, when mobile internet use will account for 31% of global media consumption. 

With eyes spent watching TV and surfing the Web, other media is being displaced.

Between 2014 and 2019, the average amount of time spent reading newspapers has fallen from 17 minutes a day to 11, while time spent reading magazines has fallen from 8 to 4 minutes and time spent watching television has fallen from 171 to 167 minutes. Desktop internet use has also fallen, from 47 minutes a day to 40. 

Notably, consumers’ appetite for radio and cinema has remained robust, with radio listening rising from 53 to 55 minutes and time spent at the cinema rising from 1.8 minutes to 3 minutes a day on average, driven by a boom in movie attendance in China.

The multitude of media options means "brands need to communicate with consumers in the environments that best matches their values, and at the times when consumers are ready to move along the path to purchase,” says Matt James, Global Brand President, Zenith. “This requires investing in talent and technology to unlock the value of data and create personal brand experiences.”



7 comments about "Mobile Internet Usage Reaches 800 Hours A Year".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 10, 2019 at 9:10 a.m.

    Larrisa, surely the folks at Zenith know that brands do not make media usage decisions based on overall time spent stats------even if these are accurate reflections of usage volume. Brands need to determine what mode----or modes---- of communication are best to tell their stories, after which they can evaluate the appropriate media options based on their  ability to target consumers, get the ads exposed, provide compatible mrdia "environments", and many other factors---all at reasonable cost relative to sensible alternatives. It's a myth that advertisers simply "follow the eyeballs"---or "ears"---when devising  their media plans. It's not as simple as that.

  2. Leo Kivijarv from PQ Media, June 10, 2019 at 1:22 p.m.

    The problem with digital media usage data is that too much of digital consumption IS NOT MEDIA. If I'm buying a new book through Amazon, that is not media usage - that's e-commerce and was called "shopping" before there was digital media. If I'm texting and e-mailing friends and co-workers or looking at photos on Instagram, that's personal communications - what used to be called "writing letters," "making phone calls," and "talking one-on-one." Let's make sure we're doing an apples-to-apples comparison, which will show that TV is still king because it requires a minimum of 30 minutes to watch your favorite program. Also, a majority of online and mobile digital media consumption that isn't e-commerce or personal communications pertains to the digital extenstions of traditional media, like online video, listening to music, reading books, etc. Thus TV usage is actually up, not down when examining all forms of accessing video content. I suggest that mobile usage that isn't related to digital brand extentions, personal communications, and e-commerce is probably closer to 25 minutes a day, primarily search and miscellaneous sites like sports fantasy leagues. 

  3. Larissa Faw from Mediapost, June 10, 2019 at 1:42 p.m.

    You make a great point, but at least Zenith is planting a stake in the ground, so to speak, by trying to provide some numbers. I completely agree it should be taken with great caution, but maybe advertisers need all the help they can get.....I still wonder why anyone still does pop-ups via mobile.

  4. Leo Kivijarv from PQ Media, June 10, 2019 at 2:08 p.m.

    My comments about apples-to-apples is based on my experience on developing media consumption data for almost 25 years, including SIX editions of the PQ Media Global Consumer Media Usage & Exposure Forecast Series that has been published since 2013, as well as media consumption data specific to the US market in the Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) Communications Industry Forecast, which I served as editor from 1997 to 2012. Please look at the MediaPost archives for articles on media consumption from PQ Media and VSS. The stake has been in the ground for more than 20 years on digital media usage.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 10, 2019 at 2:47 p.m.

    As one who has been studying such stats and the underlying research for more than 50 years I second Leo's comments about "media usage" as it applies to digital. While we note the overall time spent reports for digital media we point out repeatedly in our key reports, "TV Dimensions" and "Cross Platform Dimensions", how TV and digital compare in somewhat comparable terms, namely when TV and/or video content is being consumed. These comparisons reveal that TV is far ahead of digital in overall viewing time.

    Once again, we should remember that these findings are usually based on device usage, not actual "viewing" by the individual. The two are not the same as all of the observational studies indicate. A sizeable percentage--10-20%--- of TV as well as digital device usage is unattended. Even when that is not the case, the presumed "audience" is often not attentive. In short, time spent data means very little to most advertisers with any degree of media sophistication and savvy agencies serving them.

  6. John Grono from GAP Research, June 10, 2019 at 6:12 p.m.

    There is something odd in the data and/or report.

    "The mobile internet has expanded the amount of time people spend consuming media each day, reaching an average of 479 minutes".

    If you add the traditional media for 2018 you get 400.0 hours, and for 2019 you get 388.6 hours.   To get to the 479 minutes total usage you would need 79.0 hours in 2018 or 90.4 hours in 2019.   Neither Desktop, Mobile or Total Internet account for the difference.

    Is it possible that Zenith have 'de-duplicated' the data to allow for co-usage?

    That aside, I'd be interested in how the time metric for Desktop and Mobile are calculated.   Is it possible that is actually connection time rather than interaction time?   I know you should never use a sample of n=1, but I for one turn on my laptop and mobile first thing in the morning and turn them off last thing at night irrespective of where I am in my home or somewhere on the property.

  7. Jordan Greene from Mella Media replied, June 10, 2019 at 6:44 p.m.

    Larissa--I agree that getting some numbers to clarify the impact that mobile is having on overall media consumption growth and category shifts is a step forward. However, as crazy as this sounds, mobile is still being underestimated both in terms of consumer behavior and advertising. Easiest example: why is mobile advertising still magnitudes more cost efficient (i.e., cheaper) than its desktop brethren? We are in year 12 of this evolution of mobile, and for a "mature" environment it is still only the 3rd inning. More interesting is qualifying elements of everyday life now as content. These aer new arenas where marketers have tons of untapped opportunity, with some ingenuity.

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