Australians spending more time online than working

Monday, July 23rd, 2018
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In mid-2018 there are now 20.2 million Australians aged 14+, who each had 8,760 hours to spend over the last 12 months equalling a total of 177 billion hours in the year to March 2018. Roy Morgan’s Single Source research of employment and time spent with media breaks down how Australia spends its time between working and interacting with the various types of media.

National time spent working and with media per year in billions (bn) of hours
Australia - time spent working or with media per year in billions (bn) of hours - 12 months to September 2016 versus 12 months to March 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, October 2015 – September 2016. Sample = 50,634 Australians aged 14+ and April 2017 to March 2018. Sample = 50,014 Australians 14+.

In the past year, Australians spent more time on the Internet than working. We spent just over 21.9 billion hours on the Internet in one form or another – whether at home, at school, while at work or elsewhere compared to 20.5 billion hours on the job. Of course these are not mutually exclusive, some 4.6 billion of those hours online occurred at work – whether work related or not.

Analysing our time on the Internet more closely shows that 5.9 billion hours was spent using social media on the Internet while the balance of just under 16 billion hours was spent using the Internet for other purposes. A further 18.6 billion hours were spent watching TV and 14.6 billion hours spent listening to radio.

Of course we don’t all spend more time online than working or even watching TV. In a normal week 95% of Australians go online (and so average 1,144 hours online over the full year) while 60% of us have jobs (averaging 1,647 hours per employee).

The 92% of Australians watching TV in a given week average 1,004 hours each of TV viewing over the full year while the 85% of us that listen to radio during the week listen to an average of 851 hours per year of radio.

Analysing our Internet time between usage at home and usage elsewhere whether at work, school, or anywhere else shows our online time is still dominated by usage at home. Nearly 14.9 billion hours were spent online at home compared to just over 7.0 billion hours spent actively online at work, school, and everywhere else.

Newspapers scored 1.8 billion hours of national attention over the year, with magazines claiming just over 820 million hours overall.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says the rise of the Internet continues in 2018 with Australians now spending more time online than they do working!

“Australia’s population is set to surpass 25 million next month less than 15 years after hitting the 20 million mark in December 2003 and there are now well over 20 million Australians aged 14+ and entering adulthood. But how do they spend their time?

“To no one’s surprise the rise of the Internet has continued over the last 18 months with more hours now spent by Australians using the Internet – an estimated 21.9 billion hours by Australians aged 14+ in the year to March 2018 – up 2.1 billion hours since September 2016.

“Tracking the rise of the Internet is the rise of social media. Despite the problems Australians have with trusting social media – our recent Roy Morgan Net Trust survey revealed social media companies are distrusted by 47% of Australians – Australians as a whole now spend nearly 6 billion hours on social media in an average year over a quarter of all time spent on the Internet.

“It isn’t only the Internet where Australians are spending significant amounts of their time in 2018 with over 10% of our time spent working equal to 20.5 billion hours, up by 0.4 billion hours since September 2016.

“Although other media have experienced small declines in total hours spent since late 2016, its worth realising that we still spend over 10% of our time watching TV (18.6 billion hours) and over 8% of our time listening to radio (14.6 billion hours).

“When one considers an estimated third of our day is spent sleeping (8 hours), around three-quarters of our time is spent either working, consuming media, or fast asleep.

“Next week we will explore in-depth the large range of leisure activities, including going shopping, participating in sporting and cultural events, entertaining guests, going out for food and drinks, travel and tourism activities and many other pursuits that comprise the remaining missing quarter of our year not covered today.”