Chart of the Week: The PC vs. Mobile Battle for Consumer Attention

As we revealed in our recent report, Multitasking and Mobile Apps: New Ways to Measure Consumer Behavior, American consumers (ages 18 and above) are spending an increasing amount of their time online; over the course of 2016, the amount of time that consumers spent on PCs grew nearly 20%, while the amount of time that consumers spent on their mobile devices grew by 9%. But how are they spending that time: which devices are attracting the greatest share of consumer time, and what are they doing while they’re online?

Desktop vs. Mobile Use: Nearing an Inflection Point?

According to Verto Analytics data, while the PC continues to play an important role in how U.S. consumers spend their time online, mobile is gaining: 43% of total online usage in the U.S. today takes place on mobile devices, and it’s only a matter of time before mobile time spent exceeds that spent on PCs. Moreover, the death of the app has been greatly overstated: 83% of the time that U.S. consumers spend on their smartphones is spent in apps, while 71% of the time that they spend on tablets is in apps. On PCs, apps only account for 30% of time spent. Instead, PC users tend to spend the majority of their time in web browsers, often visiting sites and services that serve mobile consumers via apps.

For advertisers and brands, understanding where consumers spend the majority of their online time is a crucial piece of data for engaging with a target audience as they move across devices, apps, and services. And as consumers increasingly turn towards mobile devices and apps, opportunities for engaging with consumers through location-based or contextual content will present even great opportunities (and targeting challenges) moving forward.

Interested in our data on consumer behavior? Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest insights, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.