Last year, the combined time spent with traditional and digital forms of media increased in the US. This is according to data from eMarketer, which found that the time spent with media in 2020 increased by nearly an hour. But will this amount of media consumption continue over time? Here’s what the data shows.

Per eMarketer, US adults spent an average of 13:21 (hh:mm) per day with media in 2020, up from the 12:23 spent per day in 2019. This growth was entirely due to an increase in time spent with digital media, which grew from 6:49 in 2019 to 7:50 in 2020. (The figures include multitasking, such as an hour spent online while watching TV count as an hour with digital media and an hour with traditional TV.)

Time spent with digital media is expected to continue to increase, albeit at a slower pace, reaching 7:59 per day in 2021 and 8:09 in 2022 — slightly higher than eMarketer estimated earlier this year. And, by 2023, US adults are predicted to spend 8:20 per day with digital media.

On the other hand, time spent with traditional media, as a whole, decreased last year and is expected to continue to decline over the next few years. In 2020, adults spent an average of 5:31 per day with traditional media, down slightly from 5:33 per day in 2019. This year, time spent with these forms of media is expected to collectively decrease by about 18 minutes (to 5:13).

Time Spent with Mobile on the Rise

It’s clear that US adults are spending a lot of their time on mobile devices. In fact, more than half of the daily time spent with digital media last year was spent on mobile (non-voice; 4:16). This trend is expected to continue this year (4:23) and at least until 2023 (4:35).

Time spent with desktop/laptop is expected to be relatively steady in the next couple of years, decreasing slightly from 2:03 per day in 2020 to 1:59 in 2021.

The only other form of media that comes close to the share of time spent daily with mobile is traditional TV. Americans are expected to spend 3:17 per day with TV this year (down from 3:33 in 2020). Unlike mobile, time spent with TV is predicted to decrease in the coming years, with eMarketer estimating that adults’ daily time spent with TV will drop to 2:51 by 2023.

Despite this decline in time spent with TV media, estimates from PwC project modest growth in the TV advertising market through 2024.

Meanwhile, time spent with traditional radio and print media are expected to see only negligible decreases. Time spent with traditional radio is estimated to be 1:26 per day this year and 1:25 in 2023, while time spent with traditional print media is predicted to decrease from 0:19 in 2021 to 0:17 by 2023.

More details about time spent with digital and traditional media can be found here.


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