Second screen becomes first as Americans spend more time on smartphones than watching TV

For the first time ever, US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV, with smartphone use dominating that time spent according to eMarketer’s latest study – US Time Spent With Mobile 2019.

However, consumers’ use of smartphones will continue to make up the majority of their media consumption, but the analysis firm predicts that use will plateau by 2020, as consumers become increasingly uneasy about overuse of mobile devices.

  • The average US adult will spend 3 hours, 43 minutes (3:43) on mobile devices in 2019, just above the 3:35 spent on TV.
  • Of time spent on mobile, US consumers will spend 2:55 on smartphones, a 9-minute increase from last year.
  • In 2018, mobile time spent was 3:35, with TV time spent at 3:44.
  • Tablet use among US adults continues to lose ground, having peaked at 1:11 daily in 2017 and dipped to 1:08 this year, A trend that will continue through to 2021.

We’ve expected that mobile would overtake TV for a while, but seeing it happen is still surprising. As recently as 2014, the average US adult watched nearly 2 hours more TV than they spent on their phones.

Yoram Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst