February 20, 2014, 9:30 AM

Consumer Internet use shifts from PCs to smartphones

U.S. adults now spend more time on the Internet on smartphones than on PCs, research giant Nielsen finds. 87% of smartphone and/or tablet owners use their devices to shop. Tablets are gaining in importance in m-commerce.

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A major milestone has been hit in the realm of the Internet: U.S. adults now spend more time on the Internet on smartphones than on PCs, research giant Nielsen finds. A typical U.S. adult spends 34 hours and 17 minutes a month on the Internet on a smartphone compared to 27 hours and 3 minutes on a PC, Nielsen says. That translates to 1 hour and 8 minutes a day on smartphones and 54 minutes a day on PCs.

And mobile consumers love shopping: 87% of owners of smartphones or tablets use their mobile devices to shop, Nielsen says. Further, tablets are growing in importance in mobile commerce. Following are key m-commerce activities, the percent of U.S. adults who engage in that activity on a tablet, and the percent of U.S. adults who engage in that activity on a smartphone:

  • Purchasing digital goods, 45%, 39%.
  • Purchasing physical merchandise, 40%, 32%.
  • Purchasing a service, 27%, 21%.
  • Writing a review of a purchase, 23%, 14%.
  • Researching a product for purchase, 65%, 59%.
  • Reading product review, 55%, 47%.
  • Shop on device while watching TV, 44%, 24%.
  • Using store locator, 39%, 76%.
  • Comparing prices, 51%, 66%.
  • Using mobile coupon, 10%, 49%.
  • Using lists while shopping, 14%, 49%.
  • Commenting on purchase on social media, 21%, 26%.

Nielsen finds that men and women are equally active mobile shoppers, that 28% of mobile shoppers earn more than $100,000 a year, and that the majority of mobile shoppers are under 45 years old. 12% of mobile shoppers are Hispanic, Nielsen says.

Nielsen's Internet figures are based on a panel of 200,000 U.S. Internet users of all ages, measured in September 2013. Nielsen's m-commerce figures are based on a September 2013 survey of 3,032 mobile device users who performed a shopping activity within the last 30 days. And Nielsen's social figures are based on a November 2013 survey of 2,020 online adults who use social media.

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