Overall time spent online remains static

People aren't online any longer, but they're savvier and know where they want to go, according to a newly released Forrester report.

Forrester survey on Internet use.
Forrester via North American Technographics Benchmark Surveys

The amount of time people spend online has not increased since last year, according to a report released by Forrester on Monday. Perhaps more interesting, however, is the reason for the trend: people's online behavior has changed.

"Engagement with the online channel has deepened," writes Forrester analyst Jackie Anderson. "Web users are becoming savvier and are better multi-taskers. Many know exactly where they want to go when they log in."

The report, titled "Consumer Behavior Online: A 2009 Deep Dive," shows that overall time spent on the Internet has remained at 12 hours per week. This bucks the trend from 2004 to 2007, when Internet use grew significantly.

Broadband growth has also slowed, according to the report. In the last year, broadband adoption grew only 6 percent, but that's still 6.5 million new households. Now, the majority of households with Internet run broadband, and more than 50 percent of people have been using the Web for at least 10 years. "The Internet starts to more closely resemble a traditional media channel," writes Anderson.

However, people are still watching TV at the same rate (13 hours per week) regardless of being able to stream their favorite shows online. And, while 25 percent of people online watch full-length TV shows on the Internet, those same people also maintain 13 hours per week of TV.

The one trend that has grown in the last year is social networking. Not a huge surprise as we've seen Twitter explode and Facebook grow ever stronger . Still, only one third of online users are members of a social network, but that's a 15 percent increase from 2007.

Forrester has been tracking Internet use since 1998 through this annual survey. It is one of its largest consumer surveys and includes input from 40,000 Americans. This year's survey was conducted in January and February.

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About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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