TV vs. Mobile: Which is Winning Over Your Time?

Written by Team SI on Thursday, June 20, 2019

Find yourself staring more at your phone and less at your TV screen? According to eMarketer, we’ll see a significant shift in the amount of time people spend on mobile devices versus watching TV this year.

In 2018, eMarketer found that the average U.S. adult spent 3 hours 44 minutes watching TV and 3 hours 35 minutes on mobile devices. But for 2019, the prediction is that adults will spend approximately 3 hours 43 minutes on mobile devices and just 3 hours 35 minutes watching TV each day. While experts have been anticipating the shift, they said it is still surprising to see it. Just five years ago in 2014, the average U.S. adult was consuming two hours more TV a day than they were spending on a phone.

eMarketer predicts a continued decline in the use of TV through the next couple of years, with an expected decrease of 13 minutes by 2021, but mobile use is expected to gain 11 minutes of use time in the same timeframe.

Where are people spending their time on their mobile devices? Experts say it’s not in a web browser. According to eMarketer, most of the time spent on mobile devices is actually in apps (2 hours 57 minutes), perhaps as consumers surf social media, stream music or catch up on their latest podcasts. That leaves less than an hour of time spent on a web browser.

And even though you might hear concerns raised over the amount of screen time consumed and some companies have even introduced screen time controls, eMarketer sees smartphones reigning as the go-to device for consumer media over the next few years.


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