Insatiable demand sees mobile internet usage hit 800 hours per year

The proportion of our lives allocated to mobile internet consumption has risen to 800 hours per year or the equivalent of 33 days per year, according to a new survey of our changing browsing habits.

The startling statistic is presented in Zenith Media’s Consumption Forecasts which estimates that by 2021 the equivalent figure will rise still further to 930 hours as our voracious mobile appetites show no sign of slowing.

Since 2015 the annual forecast has captured changing consumption, rising from a base of between 80 and 130 minutes per day at an average growth rate of 13% per year, fuelled by quicker smartphones, improved services and ever-larger screens.

This golden period may be coming to a close however with annual growth drops to 8% between 2018 and 2021 as the smartphone sector hits saturation point.

Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith said: “Mobile internet technology has expanded both the amount of time people spend with media and what counts as media. Media now means comparing prices on the high street, sharing jokes with friends and booking your next holiday, opening up new opportunities for brands to connect with consumers.”

Mobiles growth has failed to dislodge televisions crown as the most popular global medium, with the format drawing 167 minutes of viewing every day in 2019, falling gradually to 165 minutes per day in 2021.

Between 2014 and 2019 other forms of media will experience contrasting fortunes of their own with radio and cinema consumption rising from 53 to 55 minutes per day and 1.8 to three minutes per day on average.

Other formats were less fortunate with time spent reading newspapers dropping from 17 to 11 minutes per day, while magazines dipped from eight to four minutes. Desktop internet usage meanwhile fell from 47 to 40 minutes per day.

Mobile services are expected to receive a further boost with the introduction of 5G services. Other studies have shown consumers to spend an average of 50 days per year on their smartphones.

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