Smartphones Topple TV, Become Americans' Favorite Screen

Americans have long loved their televisions, but the silver screen now plays second fiddle to a decidedly smaller screen.

Americans have long loved their televisions, but the silver screen now plays second fiddle to a decidedly smaller screen.

For the first time, Americans report spending more time each day on their smartphones than in front of the TV. The findings are contained in an analysis by Flurry Analytics.

In the third quarter of 2014, Americans spent an average of 177 minutes per day on their smartphones, versus 168 minutes watching TV.

The shift has been a long time in coming, but the actual changeover from a TV-dominated world to a mobile-dominated world came on quickly. Flurry reports that mobile device time has jumped 9.3% in the past 9 months alone. In the first quarter of this year, TV had a slight lead — 168 minutes versus 162 minutes. However, back in the first quarter of 2012, Americans spent just 109 minutes on their phones, while TV remained steady at 168 minutes per day.

In a blog post, Flurry said it’s likely that significant overlap exists between time spent on one device and time spent on another. A user might well be playing on her phone while watching TV. However, the company said it’s difficult to calculate exactly how much overlap exists.

However, it’s easy to see why smartphones are gaining.

“Smart devices are practical and are glued to consumers 24/7/365,” the company wrote. “Those factors, combined with the content explosion on these devices through millions of apps, helped mobile snatch the big prize from television.

Interestingly, Flurry found smaller, independent app-makers to be driving most of the growth of smartphone use. Over the first 9 months of 2012, the amount of time people spent playing Top 25 apps increased by just one minute. The amount of time spent playing all other apps jumped by 15 minutes.