Americans are now spending as many hours online as they do in front of their TV screens, according to a survey released by Forrester on Monday.
The average American now spends roughly 13 hours per week using the Internet and watching TV offline, Forrester finds, based on its survey of more than 30,000 customers. The Internet has long captivated the attention of younger Americans to a greater extent than TV and is now proving more popular to Gen X (ages 31 to 44) for the first time ever. Younger Baby Boomers (ages 45 to 54) are spending the same amount of time per week using both media.
While the amount of time Americans spend watching TV has remained roughly the same in the past five years, Internet use has increased by 121% in the same time frame.
So what are Americans doing online? Shopping, mostly. In a similar survey issued in 2007, a little more than one-third of online respondents said they were shopping online; now, 60% claim to do so. A little more than one-third also access social networking sites, such as newsgroups regularly, two-thirds of Generation Yers report that they update a social networking profile at least once per month.
Blogging, listening to streaming audio and IMing prove far less popular, engaging one-third or less of the U.S. online population respectively.
In addition, Forrester expects that 2 million new households will be connected to the Internet by the end of the year compared to the end of 2009, and that 82% of households will have Internet by 2015. Broadband will have reached 5.5 million new households by the end of this year, meaning that more than 90% of connected households will have access to high speed Internet by the end of 2010.
The effect and growth of subscribers to Usenet newsgroups are expected to follow an increasing trend.