Nielsen: More Time On Internet Through Smartphones Than PCs

Nielsen has released a smörgåsbord of data on “the new digital consumer.” The just released report covers a variety of categories, from device ownership and video streaming to mobile’s impact on social media usage.

One of the standout findings in the report is that US adults spent on average 34 hours per month using the mobile internet on smartphones. By comparison, they spend 27 hours on the PC internet.

Of that smartphone internet time, apps capture 86 percent of usage. Only 14 percent of smartphone internet access time comes via the mobile web.

TV is still the top screen. Consumption of live TV is down but overall TV watching is up due to “time-shifted TV.”

Nielsen digital consumer 2013

Source: Nielsen

Nielsen says that Americans in 2013 report owning a average of “four digital devices,” which include HDTVs, DVRs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles. The research firm puts smartphone penetration at 65 percent (Q3 2013), which is now identical to the comScore number. Eighty percent of adults own internet connected PCs, which is up a point from 2012.

Hulu and Netflix users are streaming content across an array of devices, with the PC still being the most popular. But it’s otherwise sobering to see the array of devices being used to watch video content.

Nielsen streaming data

Source: Nielsen

Nielsen also reports that “84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners say they use their devices as second-screens while watching TV at the same time.” Second screeners do a wide range of things while watching TV — all of which begs the question of the continued impact and effectiveness of TV advertising.

Social media are used daily by 64 percent of US adults (on the PC) according to Nielsen. However mobile devices are driving growth, with 47 percent of smartphone owners using social media daily.

Echoing other studies, Nielsen also found that Americans’ social media usage is diversifying. Facebook still dominates. Yet the gap in terms of time spent on the various sites is less in a mobile app context than it is on the PC.

Nielsen social media time spent

Source: Nielsen

Finally Nielsen discusses how important mobile devices have become to consumer research and purchase behavior. Data from holiday 2013 already established this (Nielsen’s data are from Q3 2013). But the following reinforce the notion of a much more complicated, multi-screen customer journey.

Nielsen mobile shopping

Source: Nielsen

There are additional findings in the report that I haven’t discussed above. You can download a copy here.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Statistics: Market Share | Statistics: Mobile Marketing | Statistics: Online Behavior | Statistics: Popularity & Usage | Statistics: Social Media | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • James R. Halloran

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    These findings really do reinforce that mobile is the future of marketing, especially since 86 percent of people are now using them. Granted, I understand TV has “adapted” to other screens, but people when it comes to shopping and comparing prices, mobile is the platform you want to be on.

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