The research from eMarketer further showed, Digital Market Asia reported, that the time spent daily with digital media was growing twice as fast as overall media, at 6.8% against 3%.
In terms of actual time, Chinese consumers are expected to spend 3 hours 5 minutes on digital media in 2015, a 73% increase over the past four years.
"What's unusual about digital media growth in China is that instead of shifting away from traditional media, digital is the second medium that a lot of consumers are exposed to after TV," explained Haixia Wang, vp/forecasting at eMarketer.
There are much lower penetration rates for print and radio in rural areas and among older populations, although TV is ubiquitous and consumers spend more time with this medium – an average of 2 hours 40 minutes daily – than any other.
But as more and more people pick up tablets and smartphones these are taking a growing share of daily media time, estimated at 32.9%, or just over 2 hours in 2015.
Of the two devices, smartphones dominate: their 20.3% share of all media time equates to 1 hour 15 minutes.
"Smartphone users in China spend a larger share of daily media time on their smartphones than users in the US, UK and Canada," Wang noted.
The speed of this shift means that in China "mobile has already become 'the next big thing'", according to Sir Martin Sorrell, head of agency holding company WPP.
And the growth in digital is opening up new opportunities in programmatic, "for clients, agencies and media owners alike", he suggested to Campaign Asia-Pacific, adding that "there would have to be "more accurate measurement methodologies and increased co-operation from media owners".
Data sourced from Digital Market Asia, Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff