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Time Spent With Digital Media Climbed In 2020

January 28, 2021 Sarah Cavill

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According to a eMarketer’s most recent “time spent” forecast from Insider Intelligence, “Amid the pandemic, U.S. adults spent one hour more per day on digital activities (across all devices) than they did in 2019. Total digital time is now on track to surpass eight hours by the end of 2022.”

Digital usage in 2020 was up 15% from 2019, averaging 7 hours 50 minutes per day --  significantly higher than eMarketer’s 2020 prediction of 7 hours 31 minutes. By 2022, digital usage is predicted to reach 60.2% of daily media time for adults, up from 57.5% last year.

What Channels Are Seeing The Most Digital Usage From Adults?

“Time spent with almost all digital devices experienced an uptick in 2020,” said Zach Goldner, eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence. Across digital channels, significant upticks included:

  • Digital video: Up 25% from 2019 to 133 minutes in 2020
  • Social media: Up 16% to 65 minutes

Not surprisingly, increased mobile device use is a major driver of digital usage by adults, and smartphone time exceeded three hours per day last year.

With regard to the transition from linear TV, “Connected TVs and video game consoles are the main beneficiaries of the cord-cutting trend due to increases in the number of subscription OTT and ad-free video-on-demand users and content offerings.”

What Does Increased Digital Usage Mean For Advertisers?

The move to digital advertising has been happening for a decade, but the pandemic exacerbated the growth of digital usage in a way that few could have predicted. “As normalcy returns in 2021, overall digital consumption will hold all of last year’s gains,” said Goldner. “Desktop/laptop time will return to negative growth this year, but smartphone time will more than make up the difference.”

Advertisers should feel confident transitioning portions of their budgets to digital channels with campaigns and web experiences optimized for mobile viewing.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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