Survey: Mobile growth will slow

eMarketer says the US is reaching a saturation point, and time spent on mobile devices will level off starting in 2016

The growth rate of time spent on mobile devices is predicted to slow down in 2016, setting a trend for the years ahead, according to a new forecast report from eMarketer.

The report predicts time on mobile devices will increase by only 7.9% in 2016, despite users reportedly spending more than three hours a day checking apps and non-voice options. Percentage growth of time spent checking apps — including social media, video platforms and games — on smartphones in the US will fall into the single digits for the first time in five years; time spent on tablets and phones in 2015 went up by 11.5%.

"The number of activities currently possible on mobile devices limits the amount of time a user can spend per day," said Monica Peart, eMarketer forecasting director. "For these reasons, growth in the amount of time spent on mobile devices will slow down significantly."

Part of the reason for the slow growth: So many Americans are using tablets and mobile devices compared with five to 10 years ago, the market is nearing saturation, according to Douglas Clark, PR manager at eMarketer.

The forecast predicted time listening to the radio and watching television should decline a bit in the coming years. Time spent listening to the radio is predicted to go down by 7.8% in 2016, television time down during the day by 3.1% to 4:03 hours a day, and desktop and laptop time down by 1%. Mobile is the only medium that will consume more time, according to eMarketer.

Data accumulated for the forecast study, focusing on adults 18 years and older, came via worldwide, third-party sources such as academic institutions, other research firms, surveys, data tracking firms, and from interviewing industry executives, Clark stated. The data included time spent multitasking among platforms, including watching television and spending time on a tablet or smartphone simultaneously.

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