The Future of Mobile

Mobile to Account for the Majority of Time Spent with Digital Media in 2016

David Murphy

Mobile Banking LloydsIn 2016, for the first time, adults in the UK will spend more time with their mobile devices than with desktop and laptop computers, eMarketer projects. This year, mobile time - which includes non-voice time with tablets and mobile phones - will account for more than a quarter of daily media time for the average adult, at 2 hours and 29 minutes, representing an 11.8 per cent rise over last year.

Traditional TV viewing – i.e., linear broadcast television viewing on a TV set - will represent just under a third of daily media time this year. By 2018, the end of eMarketer’s forecast period, mobile will have a 29.5 per cent share of total media time spent per day - just a single percentage point behind TV.

“Although TV viewing time looks to be suffering at the hands of mobile, TV content remains incredibly popular,” explained eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. “In fact, small proportions of digital and mobile time are actually taken up by TV-like viewing, with a plethora of on-demand and streaming options being keenly embraced by UK consumers.”

eMarketer has slightly downgraded its estimates for consumer time with digital media since its previous forecast in April. Overall digital media usage will now account for more than half of total media consumption beginning in 2017, rather than this year as previously forecast. eMarketer has also slightly reduced the amount of time spent with smartphones, although growth in that area continues to be strong. These updates are in part thanks to new research showing that data speeds are getting faster and people are becoming more efficient on apps, which means less time spent using them.

As consumers continue to spend more time with their mobile devices, the percentage of ad spend allocated to mobile will rise at an even faster rate. By 2018, eMarketer estimates, mobile’s share of ad spend will reach 44.5 per cent, even as it accounts for just 29.5 per cent of time spent with media. For comparison, eMarketer estimates that marketers will allocate 19 per cent of ad spend to desktop- and laptop-based placements, as consumers spend 23 per cent of their daily media time with desktop and laptop PCs.