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Smartphone Use Headed for a New Milestone in the UK

This year, for the first time, smartphones will be the preferred method to access the internet among adults in the UK, according to eMarketer’s latest UK time spent with media forecast.

In 2017, adults in the UK will spend 1 hour 59 minutes a day on their smartphone, eclipsing their daily time spent on desktops and laptops by a minute. eMarketer expects this gap to widen, with daily time spent on smartphones at 2 hours 14 minutes by 2019 vs. 1 hour 54 minutes for desktops/laptops.

Average Time Spent per Day with Desktop/Laptop* vs. Nonvoice Smartphone Activities by UK Adults, 2014-2019 (hrs:mins)

eMarketer’s forecast also shows that UK adults will spend 2 hours 45 minutes per day with mobile-only devices (including tablets) on nonvoice activities this year, an increase of close to 8.0% from 2016.

A rise in digital video viewing, particularly on social media, along with the popularity of messaging apps are the key drivers behind the mobile uptick.

According to eMarketer’s forecast, adults in the UK will spend an average of nearly 32 minutes per day watching digital video on a mobile device in 2017, up 13.5% from last year. In total, adults will spend 1 hour each day on social networks, and more than half of that time (nearly 34 minutes) will be done via smartphone.

“Mobile use is increasingly coming to mean smartphone use in the UK, so it’s no surprise to see the time spent forecast tilting evermore in that direction,” said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher. “The trend within this trend is the growth in social media and video time. More than any other media on any other device, UK adults are migrating their social media and video habits to smartphones.”

Overall, adults in the UK will spend an average of 9 hours 31 minutes per day with major media in 2017, up 0.5% from last year. Digital media—including mobile—will account for almost half (49.6%) of all media time. Although traditional media consumption has fallen at least slightly, TV continues to stay relatively steady. This year, TV (excluding digital viewing) will account for a 31.7% share of daily media time, down 2.3% from 2016.

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