How Americans are Spending Their Digital Time

Digital Time

Admit it, you are probably among the Americans who are judged for spending too much time on their devices. Or, at least people like us used to be judged before the pandemic forced us all inside. What choice did we have but to increase our digital time while social distancing? The digital realm is the perfect place to keep ourselves entertained and stay connected to our friends and family. Gone are the days of being judged for spending too much time online. eMarketer's Insider Intelligence says that, on average, the pandemic increased everyone’s digital time by at least an hour a day last year.

How Americans are Spending Their Digital Time

With the one hour of digital time increase over 2019, Americans clocked in at seven hours and 50 minutes spent consuming digital media every day. According to Insider Intelligence, the jump in time between 2019 and 2020 has been the largest increase the U.S. has seen since 2012. This means that digital media takes up roughly 57.5% of the average U.S. adult’s waking hours.

So, how have Americans been spending all of that increased digital time? Time spent on smartphones has seen the biggest increase since last year. In 2019, Americans spent an average of two hours and 45 minutes on their smartphones on a daily basis. Last year, that time increased to three hours and 13 minutes per day.

Regardless of which device they’re using, Americans are dividing their digital time across three main types of media. These media types are:

  • Digital Video: The average American adult spends two hours and 13 minutes per day watching digital video. This is an increase of nearly half an hour over 2019.
  • Digital Audio: Americans now spend roughly one hour and 29 minutes listening to music, podcasts, and other types of audio digitally every single day.
  • Social Media: We’re now at about one hour and five minutes of social media time per person. What’s remarkable about this detail is that American consumers used to only spend about nine minutes on the average day perusing social media in 2019. Americans are spending most of their social media time on Facebook. But they’re also dividing their time between Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter.

Looking to the Future

Americans aren’t done adding to their digital time just yet. After all, the pandemic won’t be behind us for at least another few months (hopefully no longer). So, Insider Intelligence predicts that the time Americans spend consuming digital media on a daily basis will reach seven hours and 57 minutes by the end of this year and exceed eight hours per day by 2023. This predictions suggests that, by just the end of this year, the percentage of daily time we dedicate to digital platforms will reach 60.2%. That’s an increase of 2.7% over pandemic stricken 2020.

How are your advertising clients faring in the digital landscape? Run a Digital Audit, available on AdMall by SalesFuel, to see how their online presence compares to that of their competition. Afterwards, you’ll know exactly what areas your client needs to work on in order to be more competitive when fighting for their target customer’s digital time.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Analyst, specializing in audience intelligence, at SalesFuel. She also helps to maintain the major accounts and co-​op intelligence databases. As the holder of a Bachelors degree in English from The Ohio State University, Rachel helps the rest of the SalesFuel team with their writing needs.