US adults spent close to one extra hour per day with digital activities last year than they did in 2019. And, while time spent with digital activities such as watching online videos, streaming music or flipping through social media feeds is expected to continue to rise in the coming years, data from eMarketer suggests that the increase will be less dramatic.
The time US adults spent consuming digital media per day averaged 7:50 (HH:MM) in 2020. This is up 15% (59 minutes) over the 6:49 adults spent per day in 2019. eMarketer notes that this is the biggest increase seen since 2012.
Indeed, some 57.5% of the total daily time adults spent with media in 2020 was with digital. The share of media time spent with digital is expected to continue to rise, and by 2022, eMarketer predicts that digital time will account for 60.2% of adults’ daily media time, which at that point is expected to be 8:02.
Separate research from Comscore revealed that a large chunk of time spent with digital media in the US is on mobile devices. eMarketer’s data shows that in 2020, 3:13 minutes of digital time was spent on smartphones.
Where Are Adults Spending Their Digital Minutes?
When looking at the time spent with social media, digital video and digital audio, the largest increase in time spent was with digital video. US adults spent 2:13 per day with digital video in 2020 (up from 1:46 in 2019). Across the “Big 5” video streaming platforms, the most time spent was with Netflix (0:31 per day) and YouTube (0:27 per day)
Daily time with social networks increased from 0:56 in 2019 to 1:05 in 2020, with TikTok enjoying the biggest increase in time. Although adults spent an average of 2 minutes per day on the app in 2019, by the end of 2020, they were spending 7 minutes with it each day. (Note that these figures are averaged out among adults, regardless of their TikTok use. Among users themselves, hours spent are much higher.)
Finally, adults also spent 7 extra minutes per day with digital audio last year, increasing from 1:22 in 2019 to 1:29 in 2020.
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About the Data: eMarketer notes that “time spent with each medium includes all time spent with that medium, regardless of multitasking; for example, 1 hour of multitasking on desktops/laptops while watching TV is counted as 1 hour for TV and 1 hour for desktops/laptops.”