By 2019 Australian smartphone penetration will reach 89 per cent and time spent on mobile internet will rise to 130.9 minutes a day.

This growing engagement helped mobile advertising expenditure in Australia grow by 33 per cent on 2016 to a total of $2.6 billion in FY17.

The figures are contained in the latest Zenith Mobile Advertising Forecasts Report, released yesterday.

According to the report, total online advertising expenditure, which includes all platforms and formats, grew only 11.7 per cent in 2017. Of the $2,605 million of mobile advertising expenditure in the 12 months to June 2017, 46 per cent was attributed to mobile search and 54 per cent to mobile display, and 70 per cent was attributed to smartphones and 30 per cent to tablets.

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59 per cent of internet advertising expenditure will be mobile in 2018

Zenith estimates that 53 per cent of all internet ad spend will go to ads viewed on mobile devices in 2017, and forecasts that proportion to rise to 59 per cent in 2018 and 62 per cent in 2019. In 2019 mobile ad spend will total US$156 billion, and account for 26 per cent of ad spend across all media.

“For most consumers and advertisers, the mobile internet is now the normal internet,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence. “The ownership of mobile devices is beginning to saturate in some markets, but there’s plenty of room for further growth across the rest of the world.”

Globally, smartphone penetration is tipped to reach 66 per in 2018, up from 63 per cent in 2017 and 58 per cent in 2016.

Western Europe and Asia Pacific continue to lead the world in smartphone ownership. The report predicts five markets will have smartphone penetration above 90 per cent in 2018: the Netherlands (94 per cent), Taiwan (93 per cent), Hong Kong (92 per cent), Norway and Ireland (each at 91 per cent). 11 markets will have penetration levels between 80 per cent and 90 per cent, all of them in Western Europe and Asia Pacific with the exception of Israel, where penetration will be 86 per cent.

The country with the highest number of smartphone users will be China, with 1.3 billion users, followed by India, with 530 million users. The US will be third, with 229 million users.

Mobile devices to account for 73 per cent of internet consumption in 2018

Mobile devices (including both smartphones and tablets) are now the primary means of accessing the internet for most users, and will account for 73 per cent of time spent using the internet in 2018, up from 70 per cent in 2017 and 65 per cent in 2016. Mobile internet use has doubled since 2011, when it accounted for 36 per cent of all internet use. By 2019, the report forecasts it to account for 76 per cent.

In Australia, time spent with mobile internet has increased two-fold from 2013 (50.9 minutes a day) to 2016 (104.7 minutes) and is forecast to rise to 130.9 minutes in 2019.

Mobile internet time has replaced other media as the lead source of news and entertainment as desktop, TV, newspapers and magazine time spent has declined. The proliferation of larger free data limits, better smartphone devices and popularity of apps has driven the increase in mobile time.

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