August 7, 2009, 12:00 AM

As time online holds steady, consumers dive deeper into favorite activities

Consumers’ time online stayed the same in 2009 from 2008, but now they are more savvy about what they do, according to a report by Forrester Research Inc.

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Consumers’ time online stayed the same at 12 hours per week in 2008 and 2009, but now they use that time for specific behaviors they’ve developed, according to a report by Forrester Research, “Consumer Behavior Online: A 2009 Deep Dive.” The findings are based on a survey of 40,545 U.S. consumers in January and February.

“As users become more comfortable with the Internet, they also develop specific behaviors and interests, many of which mirror those in the offline world,” the report says. For example, consumers who like sports will search for sports content or those who watch a lot of television are the biggest viewers of online TV content.

The report also notes that more people are engaging with social networks with about one-third of online consumers visiting those sites, up from 15% in 2007. 68% indicated that they visited Facebook weekly, while 59% say they visit MySpace, according to the findings.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Consumers in Generation Y, who are between the ages 18 to 29, spend the most time online at 19 hours per week, followed by those people in Generation X, spanning the ages of 30 to 43, who log in 17 hours per week.
  • In cell phone activity, 51% of consumers used their mobile phones to text weekly in 2009, up from 38% in 2008, and 15% used it to access the Internet, up from 11% in 2008.
  • 82% of Generation Y used the mobile phone to send text messages while 43% of all other age groups reported texting monthly.
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