Americans are spending a nearly obsessive amount of time with digital media, according to the highly anticipated, just released annual Internet Trends Report from tech guru Mary Meeker. She says consumers logged 6.3 hours a day online in 2018, a 7% increase from the prior year. The growth is primarily coming from mobile and other connected devices as desktop computer use declines. And that’s good for podcasting, which the report notes has seen its user base double during the past four years. It has also put the streaming music and podcast service Spotify on the list of the world’s biggest internet companies with a $30 billion market value. Fellow podcasters Apple ($875 billion market cap) and Google parent Alphabet ($741 billion) were already there.
The report does touch on broadcast radio, in a slide that compares the percentage of time spent with various media, versus the percentage of advertising spending on the platform—and there is an obvious disconnect. While radio gets 12% of media time it only gets 8% of overall advertising dollars. Compare that to print which has only 3% of usage but it grabs 7% of the marketing dollars. Meeker says other platforms aren’t getting short-changed like radio. Television’s time spent is pegged at 34% at that’s what it pulls from the overall ad pie. Same is true for mobile, which has a 33% share of time-spent and desktop, with has an 18% share.
Meeker’s 333-page study was presented this week at Code Conference 2019, and exhaustively surveys trends pertaining to the internet and other forms of media. It shows internet ad spending accelerated in the U.S., up 22% in 2018. Most of the spending is still on Google and Facebook, but companies like Amazon and Twitter are growing their shares. Some 62% of all digital display ad buying is for programmatic ads, which will continue to grow.
E-commerce now holds 15% of retail sales. Its growth has slowed — up 12.4% in Q1 compared with a year earlier — but it still towers over growth in regular retail, which was just 2% in Q1, the Recode synopsis notes.
Meeker, a general partner at venture capital firm Bond Capital, writes that it's “possible to imagine a not-too-distant future where the lines between digital media engagement and ecommerce are effectively erased. In this future, users will no longer differentiate between ‘being online’ and ‘shopping online.’ The two will simply converge, so that shopping — or at least browsing for goods and services — becomes an integral part of the digital media experience.”