Growing mobile use shifting balance of video consumption

People around the world will spend an average of 800 hours, or 33 full days, using the mobile internet this year, according to Zenith’s Media Consumption Forecasts, published today, with the figure set to rise to 930 hours, or 39 full days, by 2021.

According to the fifth edition of Zenith’s Media Consumption Forecasts, which surveys changing patterns of media consumption, people in the 57 countries surveyed will spend a collective 3.8 trillion hours using the mobile internet this year, rising to 4.5 trillion hours in 2021.

The average amount of time people spend accessing the mobile internet has risen from 80 to 130 minutes a day since 2015, at an average rate of 13% a year, spurred on by the availability of affordable smartphones, faster connections, better screens and app innovation, according to Zenith. Growth is slowing as mobile device penetration levels off. Zenith forecasts an average of 8% annual growth in time spent on mobile internet devices between 2018 and 2021, with mobile internet use to account for 31% of global media consumption in 2021, up from 27% this year.

Despite the rise of mobile media, television remains the biggest medium globally, attracting 167 minutes of viewing each day in 2019. Television viewing is predicted to fall slowly to 165 minutes a day in 2021, but TV will still account for 33% of all media consumption in 2021, down from 35% in 2019.

While mobile internet consumption has eaten into newspaper, magazine and – to a lesser extent – TV and desktop computer consumption, consumers’ appetite for radio and cinema has remained robust, with radio listening rising from 53 minutes to 55, and time spent at the cinema rising from 1.8 minutes to 3.0 minutes a day on average, driven by a boom in cinema attendance in China.

The mobile internet has expanded the amount of time people spend consuming media, according to the report. Consumers will spend an average of 479 minutes a day with media this year, up from 420 minutes in 2013. By 2021 we expect the average consumer to spend 495 minutes a day consuming media.

“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,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith.

“To take advantage of this abundance of media, brands need to communicate with consumers in the environments that best matches their values, and at the times when consumers are ready to move along the path to purchase. This requires investing in talent and technology to unlock the value of data and create personal brand experiences,” said Matt James, Zenith’s global brand president.

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