Time spent with digital media may be outpacing traditional media globally but there are still strongholds for TV. The US has the highest TV consumption of all our 31 markets. Time spent watching TV has been driven by soaring TV penetration and the rising number of TVs per household.

Nevertheless, even here our Global Media Consumption: The Digital Reality report has found that consumers spend more time online than they do watching TV. PC/Laptop/Tablet usage is also remarkable amongst the US internet population. According to our 2012 Q4 data, while 31% of the internet users have spent four hours or more on a rather traditional mass media – TV, 49% of the internet users have spent four hours or more on PC/Laptop/Tablet on a daily basis.

The gap is clearly larger among the younger consumers but second-screening means that these two behaviours are not mutually exclusive. Our latest data shows that laptop usage while watching TV is now majority behaviour among the under 35s and adopted by more than three in 10 among 35-64 year olds.

So, what do these internet users do with their laptops while watching TV?

Our data shows that these US internet users are information seekers as well as are product searchers. Approximately one in five of them read news, chat with their friends and search for products to buy.

In fact, nearly one in three (31%) younger consumers – aged 16-34 – have searched for products to buy while watching TV, compared to one in five (21%) of older internet users (aged 35-64).

In fact, the younger generation is more prone to research online while watching TV whereas the older generation tends to buy online. Eighty-six per cent of internet users aged 35-64 who have searched for products to buy while watching TV have continued to purchase during the last month.

The older generation it appears is happy not just increasingly happy to second screen but is also comfortable with using this time as a retail opportunity.

With the growing ownership of multiple devices, we expect to see an increase of time that consumers spent online as well as in the intensity of the second screen consumption. The simultaneous usage of multiple devices will also transform the entire shopping experience by gradually shifting the research and purchasing activities from the offline to the online sphere of our lives.

You’ve read our blog, now see our platform

Every business has questions about its audiences, GWI has answers. Powered by consistent, global research, our platform is an on-demand window into their world.