Growth in US Adults’ Media Time Levels Off

June 11, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Industries | Media & Entertainment

US adults’ media consumption appears to be flatlining, as a new estimate from eMarketer projects they’ll spend about the same amount of time on media in 2019 as they did in 2018. The data from eMarketer suggests that adults (18 years and older) will spend an average of 12:09 (hrs:min) on media per day this year – only 1 minute more than last year.

If that 12-odd hour total seems less than feasible, it’s worth noting that eMarketer took into account the inevitable multitasking on different media that people tend to perform. For example, if a consumer is using two different forms of media within an hour, they total that as two hours and allocate one hour to each form of media.

Figures from Nielsen reflects eMarketer’s findings that the time US adults are spending with media has leveled off in the past couple of years. In Q3 2018, Nielsen’s data reveals that adults spent an average of 10:30 per day on media, which is the same amount of time they spent in Q3 2017.

eMarketer’s forecast shows that digital is by far the most heavily used form of media, at an average of 6:35 per day. This means consumers spend more time on digital than all the other forms of media combined.

One of the contributors to the expansion of digital media has been digital audio. Digital audio is responsible for 1:20 of the total amount of time spent on digital media. The rise in smart speaker ownership continues with 36% of US adults saying they own such a device in February 2019, compared to 32% in August 2018. This has been a positive factor in the increase of digital audio consumed, per the report.

While media use seems to have stagnated, change is predicted in 2020, when eMarketer estimates that the total time spent daily on media will increase by four minutes. This is due to the upcoming 2020 Presidential elections, as well as the Summer Olympics.

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About the Data: Time includes multitasking (e.g. 1 hour of multitasking on digital while watching TV is counted as 1 hour for TV and 1 hour for digital). TV, radio, newspapers and magazines exclude digital.

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