Our hyperconnected society has an Internet addiction, whether we choose to admit it or not. We use the Web to stay updated on current events, watch silly videos, and connect with old friends. For marketers, such behaviors open up an entirely new world of opportunities, for the Internet offers numerous new channels for brand engagement. However, before companies can successfully interact with the billions of Internet users at their fingertips, they must first take a moment to understand how these consumers are using the Internet throughout the day.
The latest report from Experian Marketing Services examines the Internet habits of users across the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. The study notes that, in any given hour, Internet users operating a personal computer spend 27 percent of their time on social networks and forums, proving that the Internet, particularly social media, has become an ideal way to connect with potential customers and brand advocates.
The following statistics highlight how Internet users across these three countries are spending their time and how their habits continue to evolve alongside technology:
- For every hour online, Americans spend 16 minutes of their time on social networks and forums, nine minutes on entertainment sites, and five minutes shopping.
- In the U.K., Internet users spend 13 minutes on social networking sites each hour, nine minutes on entertainment sites, and six minutes shopping.
- On average, Australian Internet users spend 14 minutes on social media, nine minutes on entertainment, and four minutes shopping online.
- In 2012, British users spent 10 percent of their online time shopping, as compared to nine percent in the U.S. and six percent in Australia. Much of this activity can be attributed to the U.K.'s extremely active holiday season, which saw 370 million hours spent online-24 percent higher than the nation's monthly average.
- Australians spend six percent of their total online time reading about news and current events, as compared to five percent in the U.K. and four percent in the U.S.
- Social media usage continues to decline year-over-year in comparison to other online activities, with usage dropping from 30 percent to 27 percent in the U.S., 27 percent to 24 percent in Australia, and 25 percent to 22 percent in the U.K.
Key takeaway: While Internet users across the world still employ personal computers for much of their searching and browsing activities, this study also highlights the increasing popularity of mobile devices. From smartphones to tablets, mobile usage continues to gain momentum as the channel of choice. In the U.S., mobile Internet users spent 23 percent of their time using email, 15 percent of their time on social networks, 13 percent on entertainment sites, and 11 percent shopping. Mobile enables users to access the Web on the go, allowing them to connect with all the conveniences of a PC in the palm of their hand. Brands must make sure to constantly observe and adjust according to how consumers are interacting with the Internet in order to make sure their engagement strategies remain current and effective.