According to eMarketer’s “2019 Mobile Marketing Trends Roundup,” this year, for the first time in history, US consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV. Not surprisingly, smartphones dominate as the device of choice.

Smartphones will lead as the source of media consumption by consumers, claims the report. However, the analysts from eMarketer forecast that their use will plateau by 2020. The researchers explain that the anxiety around the overuse of mobile devices is increasing, and that anxiety is expected to impact the number of hours that consumers spend with their devices.

The average US adult, this year, will spend 3 hours and 43 minutes on mobile devices, which is slightly more than 3 hours 35 minutes spent on TV. Also, US consumers will spend 2 hours 55 minutes on smartphones, which makes a 9-minute increase from 2018. 

“We’ve expected that mobile would overtake TV for a while, but seeing it happen is still surprising. As recently as 2014, the average US adult watched nearly 2 hours more TV than they spent on their phones,” said Yoram Wurmser, eMarketer principal analyst.

While smartphones continue to conquer the world, tablets are certainly losing in the battle. In 2017, daily time spent by an average US adult on a tablet was 1 hour 11 and this year it dipped to 1 hour 8 minutes. The researchers also predict this trend to continue through 2021. 

Consumers spend a good chunk of their time using apps rather than web browsers, typically, spending 2 hours 57 minutes in apps compared to as few as 26 minutes on a mobile browser, the roundup informs (to maximize app user lifetime, the researchers recommend to “leverage deep linking, encourage social sharing and drive new referrals and offer discounts”).  

The most popular activity among consumers within apps is tuning in to digital audio. According to Wurmser, “Digital audio apps continue to add minutes because people are streaming more music on their phones, and podcasts have taken off in popularity in the past few years.” The trend is followed by scrolling through feeds and chatting in social media platforms. 

Per the analysts, companies like Google and Apple have introduced screen time controls, but how useful they are in ultimately changing behavior is yet to be revealed. So what are some things that marketers can do today to maximize their advertising on mobile devices? One of the key strategies is understanding personalization. As pointed out by the roundup sponsor, Branch, “From desktop to mobile web to apps to tablets, users now have more connected devices than ever. Brands that can’t respond to their users’ needs for personalization across devices will lose loyalty–and revenue.”