There’s no shortage of mobile tipping points lately. This time it’s video: U.S. consumers now view more video on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops, 33 minutes a day versus 22 minutes, respectively, according to eMarketer. This includes everything from short-form YouTube clips to epic feature films on streaming services.
Bill Siwicki , Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce
The mobile revolution continues, and if you haven’t been keeping score, mobile is winning. In April it was consumers spending more time with smartphones than television. In February it was consumers spending more time on the Internet on smartphones than on PCs. In October it was consumers spending more time with online retail on mobile devices than on PCs.
What now? Video.
Last month, U.S. consumers spent more time watching video on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops, research firm eMarketer Inc. finds. On average, consumers spend 33 minutes a day watching video on mobile devices and 22 minutes a day watching video on desktops and laptops, eMarketer says. Of time spent with video on mobile devices, 20 minutes a day is on tablets and 13 minutes a day is on smartphones.
Video includes short-form, such as YouTube clips, and long-form, including feature films on streaming sites and apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. The average amount of video per day, 55 minutes, is far shorter than the length of a streamed feature film (around two hours) for several reasons, eMarketer says: most videos viewed online or on mobile devices are short video clips, most consumers with Internet access do not stream feature films, and the averages include U.S. consumers who do not watch any video online or on mobile.
In 2013, 40% of U.S. digital video viewers watched video on smartphones while 50% of digital video viewers watched video on tablets, eMarketer finds. Those percentages, for smartphones and tablets, respectively, will increase to: 46% and 58% in 2014; 51% and 63% in 2015; 54% and 65% in 2016; 56% and 68% in 2017; and 59% and 70% in 2018, eMarketer forecasts.
“More and more people are viewing video on a variety of devices, so the desktop/laptop-only audience is certainly shrinking,” says Monica Peart, senior analyst, eMarketer. “Mobile video viewership is an ever-increasing proportion of overall digital video viewership.”
Tablets are taking on a more important role in advertising and commerce, Peart adds. Many consumers are replacing their PCs with tablets for activities at home because of tablets’ portability, which is what makes them mobile devices, she says. At the same time, the screen size of tablets lends itself to certain activities more than the screen size of smartphones—video is a prime example, she says.
“Marketers and publishers are taking notice in the shifting behavior toward mobile video, so ad dollars and content development are switching to mobile, especially for premium content,” Peart says.
For the video data, eMarketer analyzed more than 500 data points from 40 research sources, the firm says. EMarketer bases all of its forecasts on worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company, product, country, demographic and consumer behavior trends, the research firm says. It analyzes quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness. Every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all of the firm’s forecasts; the firm regularly re-evaluates every forecast to reflect new market developments and other trends.