Nielsen//NetRatings: Time Online Stalls in U.S.

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Nielsen//NetRatings reports minimal to flat growth in the amount of time Internet users spend online at home in the United States and other key markets like Brazil, Spain and Germany.


U.S. monthly Internet use in February was down 2 percent, to 13 hours, 44 minutes and 4 seconds, from the same month last year. By contrast, markets like Hong Kong, France, Italy and Japan reported year-over-year growth ranging from 25 percent to 12 percent.


"The U.S. is really waiting for the next big thing to spike Internet usage," said Nielsen//NetRatings senior Internet analyst Kaizad Gotla in New York. "Purely shooting from the hip, there's definitely a growing market for online gaming, local search as well as streaming media. A lot of portals are building broadband content."


Established Internet use patterns and user and Web site relationships are main reasons for the stalled growth in the United States. This is not the case for markets where loyalties are not yet cemented, thus giving Internet marketers a chance to swing consumers to their side.


Hong Kong tops the list of markets with the most year-over-year growth in time spent online at home: nearly 22 hours, up 25 percent. France is next, up 19 percent this February versus the year-ago period, to 14 hours, 25 minutes. Italy was up 15 percent to nearly 8 hours.


Japan's monthly use was up 12 percent to 14 hours, 50 minutes. Australia was up 10 percent to 11 hours, 39 minutes, and Britain was up 8 percent to 11 hours, 20 minutes.


Hong Kong, France, Australia and Italy recorded double-digit growth in the number of monthly user sessions. Shifts in media consumption, better online offerings and increasing broadband penetration are among the reasons for the growth in the number of online user sessions worldwide.


"Definitely in the U.S., the Internet is gaining mind share from radio and newspapers," Gotla said.


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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