What The Change In TV Vs. Phone Usage Means For Your Business

In 2014, although TV outranked phone usage by a healthy margin still, there were theories going around that this would change. That proved true in 2018 when the shift to increased phone usage became apparent. Advertisers noted this change and altered their marketing approaches to compensate. An important question to ask is: What does this mean for the average business owner? To find out, let’s take a look at the statistics surrounding TV/phone usage, and the possibilities they open for you.

Television Usage

According to Fortune, in 2015 TV usage was stagnant whereas phone usage was on the rise. TV views are counted in the number of minutes spent watching. What makes that fascinating is how even in TV usage, the current trend is that the average person will also be on their phone. Discovery’s research revealed that: “smartphones are the most commonly used device used while watching TV, with 45% of respondents saying they used one the last time they were watching. This percentage is higher among younger viewers (A18-34), at 55%. After smartphones, the mobile device of choice varies by age. While Adults 18-34 are reaching for their laptops (49%), among Adults 35-54, tablets are the next device of choice (35%)”. Television is no longer the monopolizing force it once was.  

This use of a second screen reveals that television no longer holds the attention of the audience like it once did. That’s not because TV is less engaging, as we are in what people have been calling the “Golden Era of Television”. It’s that technology has changed the way an audience engages with the media they consume. This change in engagement can also explain why the shift between TV and phone usage happened. People are potentially spending more time interacting with each other on social media about the content they view on television than actually watching the shows. 

In a world where a viewer binges a whole series in over a few days, it’s not surprising that people would focus more of their time elsewhere. As eMarketer discovered: “The average US adult will spend 3 hours, 43 minutes (referenced as 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.” Although all of these statistics focus on the 18-35 age demographic, they can be used to gauge how consumers will continue to change the market. 

Phone Usage

Most of Facebook and Youtube’s userbase log on through their phones. It, therefore, makes sense that those platforms would be a factor in phone usage as a whole. What’s interesting is that both sites measure views by minutes and seconds watched. This gives a clearer picture of how much people are watching than the way television measures views. Tech Crunch actually validates an earlier theory about how phones play into current television usage: “71 percent said they use their device to look up something related to the TV content, while 41 percent said they text, email or message someone about the content. Thirty-five percent said they shop for a product or service being advertised and 28 percent write or read social media posts about the content they’re viewing.” Television has actually used this to their advantage, by promoting hashtags for their viewers to engage with. 

Another potential reason that could factor into the increase in phone usage is that it’s something that everyone carries around. In 2014 “42% of adults had a tablet, and 7 out of 10 had a smartphone.” This is understandable, after all a tablet isn’t as easy to carry around and most phones nowadays have about the same utility that a tablet does. In fact, as of 2014 even “8 of 10 smartphone users have their phones on or near them for most of the day.” In fact, as eMarketer found: “Tablet use among US adults continues to lose ground, having peaked at 1:11 daily in 2017 and dipped to 1:08 this year. This trend will continue through 2021.” As phones have increased their screen size without being quite as bulky as tablets, they’ve become the multipurpose device that most people prefer to have. 

Apps vs. Mobile Browsers

The take away from this is that tapping into that phone usage is vitally important to businesses. Not just by ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly, however. The current trend is that consumers are “consistently spending the bulk of their time using apps over web browsers, with the average person spending 2:57 in apps vs. 0:26 on a mobile browser.”  With apps increasing in relevance, it’s important to figure out how to utilize the technology in the best possible way for your success. At ScannedMedia, we specialize in crafting apps that allow for more in-depth engagement with customers and a wide range of uses. Let’s get you started on the track that will allow you to take the best advantage of this change.

Ready to Talk?

Scroll to Top