A New Consumer First – Mobile Overtakes TV

Photo of Steve Jobs with iPhone

For the first time ever in history. consumers in the US are spending more time on their mobile devices than they are with viewing programming on their televisions. For decades now, TV has dominated consumer’s time and attention… Now, those days are gone.

See more on consumers shifting to mobile…

In a new report by market researcher eMarketer, we see a dramatic shift in consumer behavior that could have a major impact on how end-users interact with the home automation and multi-room AV systems custom integrators install every day. Not only has consumer behavior shifted, it is forecast to continue to shift even more in the future.

Going back just five years to 2014, we find that consumers in the US spent an average of 4 hours, 20 minutes (4:20) consuming content on that number one consumer device, the TV. On the other hand, consumers used their mobile devices approximately 2:32 a day on average, giving TV an almost two hour advantage.

The Tables Have Turned, Mobile is Winning

Ever since researchers recognized and started tracking just how and where users like to consume content, the trend has shifted. And now, just five years later, the trend has completely flipped in favor of mobile devices.

Graph showing shift from TV viewing to consuming content on mobile devices
For the first time ever, consuming content on a mobile device overtakes TV viewing

eMarketer says that in 2019, consumers now spend an average of 3:43 consuming content on their mobile device…a huge increase from 2014. At the same time, they average 3:35 consuming content on a TV. [This excludes watching TV content on a digital device.}

Knowing It’s Coming…But Still Surprising to See

For the most part, this “mobile” usage refers to smartphones, as opposed to tablets or laptops, by a wide margin. The difference between TV and mobile content use this year works out to an average of 8 minutes more on mobile devices, as opposed to TV. But eMarketer analysts says that they fully anticipate the swing towards more mobile content consumption to continue and forecast a more than 30-minute average usage margin in favor of mobile devices by 2021.

“We’ve expected that mobile would overtake TV for a while, but seeing it happen is still surprising. As recently as 2014, the average US adult watched nearly 2 hours more TV than they spent on theor phones.”

Yoram Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst

Reason for Shift? Audio Rules the Day

For the most part, mobile users are spending more time using apps over web browsers, eMarketer says. On average, they are spending around 2:57 in apps vs. 0:26 on a mobile browser.

And what is the most prevalent app-driven activity? To a pretty significant degree, people are listening to music through their favorite streaming app. After music, the next most common activity is listening to podcasts. So audio continues to rule the day in the mobile world.

See this and more research at: www.emarketer.com.

About Ted

A sales and marketing specialist - primarily in the technology industry - I've experienced a sort of "circle of life" in business. I've been a mass merchant retailer, a specialty retailer, a specialty manufacturer, a large volume manufacturer, a distributor, and even represented sales representatives. Now the owner of a marketing company that works with a variety of businesses on improving their strategic marketing and business development - I analyze issues from all angles to develop holistic solutions.

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