With more consumers relying on smartphones as a primary source of information from the Internet, social media now makes up the largest share of online time through these mobile devices.
A new GfK analysis showed that social media has grabbed, by a wide margin, the largest share of online time via smartphones. The study found that activities around social networking websites and blog sites accounted for nearly a third at 31 percent of smartphone online minutes – almost twice that of emails, which placed second at 16 percent.
GfK highlighted variations in online activities using smartphones as opposed to laptops and desktops. Social media represented 18 percent of time spent on the Internet through PCs, slightly higher than online video at 13 percent and search at 11 percent.
According to research from GfK’s MultiMedia Mentor, mobile phones this year increased to 17 percent of total time spent on the Internet across all devices compared to last year’s 12 percent. On the other hand, PCs slipped significantly from 83 percent of Internet time in 2011 to 73 percent in 2012. Tablets improved by doubling last year’s 3 percent, accounting for 6 percent of online time this year. Moreover, Internet TVs doubled from 2 percent of online time in last year to 4 percent in 2012.
The firm said its trend data indicated the meaningful use of the Internet through smartphone apps, such as mobile apps for social networks and emails, may have influenced consumers use of online time via PCs. The amount of time accessing GfK’s uncategorized “Other” Internet activities on laptops and desktops has slipped almost half from 37 percent last year to 20 percent this year. Time spent accessing online video through PCs nearly doubled from 7 percent to 13 percent share.
“Reading in-the-moment status updates and posting short comments, replies and likes are activities tailor-made for smartphones,” said Robert DeFelice, Vice President, Media, GfK. “Apps encourage a targeted, deliberate approach to online time that consumers may not even clearly associate with ‘the Internet’. On a PC, by contrast, people open browsers to access social media, email, and a variety of other sites; but their interest in going beyond a familiar repertoire of activities, even on the PC, seems to be dwindling.”
While GfK did not reveal the eight major media it tracks for MultiMedia Mentor, the new findings came from interviews with 2,616 members of KnowledgePanel, the only commercially available online panel derived from a statistically projectable sample of the U.S. population. The interviews for the latest data happened between February and July this year, with panel members ages 13 to 64.
“In addition to time spent with media, the MultiMedia Mentor research captures hundreds of consumer characteristics, including use of product categories. Clients have on-demand, online access to Mentor findings through exclusive reporting and optimization software,” said the company in a press release.