In Consumer Insights

Last week, Mary Meeker delivered her annual internet trends report, a much-anticipated and extensive look at the global consumer behavior landscape, technology and device market, and political and regulation climate, especially as it relates to Silicon Valley and the investment sphere. Clocking in at nearly 300 slides, the report covers a vast amount of ground, but one slide in particular caught our eye (slide 11, for those following along at home): an analysis of digital media usage among American consumers, which has grown by 4% over the past year. Do her findings align with Verto’s own observations of consumer behavior?

Are digital consumers spending more time online?

Mary Meeker’s slide reports daily, un-deduped numbers, claiming that the average U.S. adult spent 5.9 hours per day with digital media in 2017, and the ongoing trend is a gradual increase from year to year (in 2012, for example, the average adult spent 4.3 hours per day with digital media). From Verto’s perspective, this is not a surprise: we’ve been observing a slow rise in the amount of time that consumers spend online over the past few years. Instead, we’ve been focused on how consumers spend their time online – what types of digital content attracts the highest amount of consumer attention and engagement? It’s a topic we addressed in our own 2018 Trend Report.


According to Verto Watch data from the past two quarters (October 2017-March 2018), U.S. adult consumers (ages 18 and above) are indeed spending an increasing amount of time with digital media, although this effect is especially strong on PCs and smartphones; the amount of time spent on tablets remained relatively stagnant. In October 2017, the average consumer spent nearly 3 days, 4.5 hours on their smartphones per month, while spending more than 3 days and 7 hours on their PCs monthly. In January 2018, the amount of time that consumers spent using their smartphones has surpassed the amount of time that they spent on their PCs – a phenomenon that Verto and other industry watchers have been anticipating for the past year. By March 2018, consumers were spending an average of 3 days and 11 hours on their smartphones per month, compared to 3 days and 5 hours spent using their PCs.

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