SYDNEY: Just over half (52%) of the time Australians spend with digital screens is on mobile and their app usage is dominated by social and gaming activities, according to a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia.

Its Mobile Audience Panel Pilot study, conducted in partnership with research firm Nielsen and based on 1,500 survey participants, found Australians spend 38 hours a month on laptops and PCs, 29 hours on smartphones and 24 hours on tablets.

Among smartphone users, apps now account for 86% of usage while 14% of users spend time on news sites – a percentage the IAB highlighted as being notably higher than 11% in the US.

"If you compare Australians' behaviour on their phones to Americans, you find that we are incredibly social with nearly half of all application time being spent on social networking brands," said Gai Le Roy, IAB Australia's director of research.

When published later this month, the IAB's latest quarterly ad revenue figures are expected to show that mobile represents at least 25% of digital display.

This prompted Le Roy to comment that if marketers are "not spending at least quarter of your digital marketing budget on mobile you should ask yourself why not".

The IAB also said broadcast TV represents 57% of screen time (93 hours), according to the latest Oztam Australian Multi-Screen Report, while mobile represents 22% (phone and tablet), and desktop 21% of all screen time.

Its study chimes with the recent Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2014, which said more than half (53%) of Australians are now "digital omnivores" and that the shift to social media had risen 170% since last year.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc