SYDNEY: Four out of five Australians spend an average of 23.3 hours online every week as ownership of connected devices has proliferated over the past decade, a new study has found.

The latest Australian Connected Consumer Report from insights provider Nielsen highlighted how the media and marketing landscape had changed since 2003, when three quarters of Australians were online for just 6.7 hours each week.

In addition, more than a third of online Australians now owned connected devices that didn't even exist ten years ago. Melanie Ingrey, Cross-Platform Research Director at Nielsen remarked on how Australians had "adapted aggressively" to a changing media landscape.

"When we look at how consumers obtained information and engaged with brands ten years ago, it's as if we're looking at an entirely different industry playing field today," she said.

Overall, in 2013 some 38% of Australian households possessed four or more internet-enabled devices, while 74% were "dual-screeners", consuming TV and internet content at the same time.

Ingrey described this as "a real emergence in consumer interaction", with Twitter and Facebook feeds and other apps encouraging active participation while viewing programmes on the main screen.

Nielsen's research also showed that seven in ten Australians actively use social media, and 60% are active Facebook users.

Marketers, the study said, had responded to the growth in consumption of online content by diverting more of their media budgets to digital, which now accounted for 27% of total adspend compared to just 3% in 2003.

Ingrey noted that the wealth of consumer touchpoints now available, combined with the spread of mobile devices, provided brands with an opportunity "to engage with consumers at the right time, in the right place".

"We predict that digital will continue to shake up the industry as it is adopted and developed at an exponential rate," she declared, adding that it was important for marketing teams to "follow these trends and work to push the boundaries in order to deliver on, or above, their customers' ever-changing expectations".

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff