The rise of mobile technology has a direct impact on consumers’ behavior. Consumers easily access online information and share their lives on the go thanks to mobile devices with internet connections such as tablets and smartphones. The growth of smartphone and tablet use is accompanied by the increasing use of apps. As of June 2016, mobile users in the United States accessed mobile apps via smartphone for an average of nearly 73.8 hours monthly, and spent an average of 22.6 hours on mobile apps via their tables. Social media apps are the most used type of smartphone and tablet apps in the United States. About 40 percent of consumers in the U.S. accessed social media on their tablets on a weekly or daily basis as of November 2015. In December 2016, ten percent of U.S. social media minutes were generated via tablet apps, and 61 percent of time spent on social media content in the U.S. were generated via smartphone apps.
In the United States, tablet users are projected to spend more time with apps in 2017 than the previous year. While the average daily time spent on mobile web is expected to remain the same in 2017, the daily time spent on apps is projected to reach 91 minutes per day in 2017, up from 76 minutes in 2014. Besides social media, some of the most popular activities among tablet users in the U.S. include using their emails, using search engines and watching online videos. The number of tablet video viewers in the United States is forecast to increase in the next few years, going from an estimate of 107.2 million in 2016 to just over 124 million by 2020. Tablet video penetration in the country is projected to add up to 67.2 percent by 2020, a considerable increase from 2014, when this figure stood at around 60 percent.
Tablet users are also turning to the device for shopping activities. As of February 2016, 58 percent of digital buyers in the United States used a tablet to research online retail products, and 44 percent used the device to purchase online products. In the United States, both the number of tablet shoppers – consumers that used the device to research or compare products, but have not necessarily made a purchase – and the number of tablet buyers (i.e. consumers that actually made a purchase), are forecast to grow in the next few years). Despite this optimistic overview in numbers of tablet buyers and shoppers, the percentage of retail m-commerce sales via tablet is expected to decline between 2016 and 2020, with projections to drop from an estimate of 40.8 percent in 2016 to 21.6 percent in 2020.
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