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The average Internet user is now spending 13 hours online per week. And chances are 50/50 they bought something online this past week, too.

The average time spent online increased from 7 hours in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, to between 8 and 9 hours in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.  In 2007, it jumped to 11 hours.  Last year (in October after the financial crisis broke and before the presidential election) Internet users were online for 14 hours a week, double the tally from earlier years. These and other findings come from a recent Harris Poll.

time spent onlineThese findings are significant because the size of the U.S. online population hasn't budged much recently. It's holding steady at 184 million users -- no change from last year at all. So what these results reveal is that in an era of saturation insofar as online access is concerned, users are growing more reliant upon and attached to the World Wide Web.

Harris also chalks it up to the global recessions, "It probably reflects a growing ability to use the Internet, an increase in sites and applications, increased TV watching online and increased purchasing online. Also, hours online may have increased because of the recession. Going online is free; going out usually costs money."

Who's spending the most time online? Unsurprisingly, younger adults -- but not the youngest, and not by much. People aged 30-39 clocked an average 18 hours, while those aged 25-29 surfed 17 hours, the same amount of time as  40-49 year-olds.

Rebecca Lieb

Published 23 December, 2009 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

Follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

160 more posts from this author

Comments (24)

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Patrick Clarkson, offical at new york post

omg,i am far exceed 13 hours... that's too bad,i think i need to reduce my online time~~~

http://www.topnflnews.com/

over 6 years ago

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ORCA Franchise

I actually expected the amount to be much higher. I spend 40 hours a week at work online and another 20 or so at home. I wonder how long it will be before people spend more time on the internet than watching tv!

Anthony Taylor
ORCA Franchise

over 6 years ago

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Anonymous

I think I've done 13 today already...

over 6 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Rebecca,

Have you got any more granularity of detail on that stat? 

What I'm interested in is where that time is being spent. How much of the additional time is allocated to social networks like Facebook? How much is driven by web tv and video, via channels like You Tube.

Do you know of any reports that document the changing patterns of site usage on the back of the economic downturn? Would be interested to know how much of the extra time is being spent on entertainment websites to counter reduced spending offline in free-time leisure.

Doesn't look like the Harris Poll goes into that area of detail.

thanks

james

over 6 years ago

Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb, Digital Marketing Consultant & Author at self-employed

The Harris poll doesn't deliver that level of detail, James - you'd do best comparing it with Hitwise and comScore stats on traffic to specific sites. We report on a lot of that here, of course. I'd also recommend our Stats Compendium.

Best,

Rebecca

over 6 years ago

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webb

That's good news for those of us that have online businesses, I am definately bookmarking this page.

over 6 years ago

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jackwills

All frills and no knickers.

over 6 years ago

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Jesse Kanclerz

I'm going to echo James about wanting to know more about the granularity in these stats. For instance, of those 14 average hours spent online per week, how many of them are spent while the person is consuming additional media (I.E. watching TV while browsing the internet).

over 6 years ago

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Christina

Probably true, most people I know spend 8-12 hours a day including me...well it's an indicator that we shoiuld not overlooked the power of online marketing.

over 6 years ago

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Laser Pointer

True. I spend more than 13 hours online, at least 40 hours

over 6 years ago

Benin Brown

Benin Brown, EMarketer at RBT

If you are someone that works online that figure probably jumps by nearly double.  I think I spend an average of 25 hrs a week online.

This news is good for multiple online segments.  

over 6 years ago

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Promotional Products

It seems like that number should be more than 13 hours, but wither way this is great news for marketing and advertising online!

over 6 years ago

Benin Brown

Benin Brown, EMarketer at RBT

@PromoProducts agreed.  I guess its so low because you still have a lot of surfers who just go online for the occasional email or Facebook login. 

over 6 years ago

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promotional products

Ha! I believe it! It seems like I'm easilly online that often!

over 6 years ago

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chinese wholesalers

the table is enough to knowledge

over 6 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

It amazes me how excited some people get by isolated stats - just because people spend more time online doesn't necessarily mean boom days for marketers. You need to understand the context of that stat and look at the online behaviours of consumers before getting excited about marketing.

I spend about 6 hours a day on average online for work. I have no interest in marketing during that time and pay no attention to ads. I know that for every person like me there is somebody who is more responsive to online marketing but let's not get carried away.

thanks

james

over 6 years ago

Benin Brown

Benin Brown, EMarketer at RBT

Hi James,

That hasn't been my experience.  But I guess it could depend upon how you define marketing or rather "ads".  

If you are defining it simply as display banners, then I follow you completely.  But when you consider other components of Internet marketing such as search, online pr, online gaming, and etc. then isn't it also true that every time we click just about any link on the web we're really being "converted" or "sold" in one way or another-even if that does not immediately result in us whipping our credit cards out?

over 6 years ago

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brochure design

It's not surprising to see the datas..there's not much of a difference between People aged 30-39 and those aged 25-29 and that's for obvious reasons too.Nice post.Happy 2010!

over 6 years ago

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Nick Breen

I can believe this, especially with so many people having access to the internet at work. Other than being an easy way to shop the internet also has so many sites that are way more entertaining than just flipping through the channels.

over 6 years ago

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Luciandirect

I have been spending lots of time on the web myself. I have far exceeded that 13 hours. I know i probably should be outside jogging or getting my body physically fit but it is soo cold I have no impetus to go out.

This is good news for ecommerce sites, the more people and time people spend online the greater chance to have someone hit your site or more selling opportunities for sites.

over 6 years ago

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abercrombie

in fact,it spends more than 13 hours daily.but waste much time to games

over 6 years ago

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Chicago Web Design

Every year that # will increase by 2-5 hours on average.

Why would you not be online...the internet gives us the ability to get what information we want when we want it.

No other form of media can provide that.  Instantly up to date, it will be 40 hours a week by 2012.

Great article.

about 6 years ago

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thomas sabo

No other form of media can provide that.  Instantly up to date, it will be 40 hours a week by 2012.

almost 6 years ago

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ETF Trading Strategies

I'm up to 55 - 60 hours per week with work and trading screens, I can't remember the days before the internet anymore.  The days go by so fast now...

over 5 years ago

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