Bottom line: The smartphone and tablet markets may be stagnant, but new and improved apps mean we’re spending more time on our mobile devices than ever before.
If there’s anything that better illustrates the increasing popularity of mobile devices, it’s this: for the first time ever, US consumers are using their smartphones and tablets more than they are watching TV.
The data comes from a new report by EMarketer Inc., which found that the average US adult will spend 3 hours and 43 minutes (3:43) on mobile devices every day in 2019. That’s slightly above the 3:35 they’ll spend watching television.
Around 70 percent (2:55) of consumer mobile-use time will be spent on smartphones, marking a 9-minute increase compared to last year. Tablet use, meanwhile, is at 1:08, a decline from the 1:11 peak in 2017.
“We’ve expected that mobile would overtake TV for a while, but seeing it happen is still surprising," said Yoram Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst.
US consumers’ television viewing habits have changed drastically compared to five years ago. In 2014, the population spent 4:20 per day watching TV, almost two hours more than the time spent on mobile devices.
According to the findings, most mobile time is spent using apps (2:57), while people spend 0:26 in a mobile web browser. The most commonly used apps are those that provide digital audio, such as streaming music services and podcast providers. Social media apps are the second most popular.
The trend of less TV and more mobile use is expected to continue over the coming years but at a slower pace, likely due to people's concerns over spending too much time on phones.
EMarketer says its media forecast is based on an analysis of 2,265 metrics from 130 sources.