The mobile shift is happening

Recent earnings reports by some big tech companies (Google, Yahoo, Facebook among others) have focused attention on the fact that increasing numbers of people use mobile devices instead of desktop computers to go online.  That’s not a news flash to anyone who’s been paying attention.  But a study released this week by the research firm eMarketer helps make the point:

U.S. consumers will spend an average of 82 minutes a day on their smartphones and tablets this year, according to eMarketer.  That includes time spent cruising the Internet, playing games, using apps and listening to music, but it doesn’t count time spent talking on the phone.

That’s up from 54 minutes in 2011 and more than twice the average of 34 minutes just two years ago, in 2010.

Time spent online with a regular computer is also growing, but barely, according to the firm, which estimates adults will spend an average of 173 minutes this year, compared with 167 minutes in 2011 and 155 minutes in 2010.

The challenge for many big Internet companies (see above) is that advertising spending hasn’t moved to mobile yet. Big advertisers aren’t yet convinced that mobile ads are as effective.  Internet companies are still trying to figure out the best way to show ads on the smaller screens of mobile gadgets.

eMarketer estimated U.S. advertisers will spend $2.6 billion on mobile ads this year, but that’s only 1.6 percent of total U.S. ad spending. Television still gets the biggest chunk of ad spending, 39 percent, while traditional web ads get about 21 percent. And old-fashioned print advertising represents another 21 percent of U.S. ad dollars.


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