Mobile now accounts for 71% of Internet use but traditional media still rules

Mobile now accounts for 71% of Internet use, with North America (76%) and Asia Pacific (75%) embracing the medium the fastest, according to the communications agency Zenith. Television remains the leader in media consumption, averaging 170 minutes of viewing per day, compared to 140 minutes for the Internet, but the gap is expected to narrow to just seven minutes by 2019.

Mobile internet consumption has increased on average of 44% a year between 2010 and 2016, driven by the spread of mobile devices, improvements in technology and the availability of mobile-adapted content. While some of the consumption was cannibalised from traditional media, the spread of mobile has boosted overall media consumption by providing more access. People on average spent 456 minutes consuming media in 2016, up from 411 minutes in 2010, an average increase of 2% a year.

Mobile Internet use will rise to 26% of global media consumption in 2019, up from 19%last year, said Zenith, but it is still falling short of dethroning traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, broadcast television, radio, cinema and outdoor advertising. Traditional media owners have grown their online efforts, and despite traditional media consumption falling 13% over the last seven years, the online efforts have helped in recapturing some lost ground on the Internet.

But despite the proliferation of mobile devices, growth is slowing and with it the boost to overall media consumption. Mobile Internet use grew 25% last year, down from 43% in 2015, with a further slowing to 17% in 2017, according to the report. Overall media consumption is now expected to be static in 2017, with growth of less than 1% a year to 2019.

“Mobile technology has thoroughly disrupted consumers’ media habits in less than a decade. The pace of change is now slowing – at least until the next disruptive technology takes off,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith.

Zenith’s global brand president, Vittorio Bonori, added: “Consumers now expect to be able to communicate and transact with brands at the time and place of their choosing. Brands need to respond to and anticipate changes in media behaviour, to build stronger and more durable relationships with consumers and expand their business.”