NEW YORK: The proportion of time that consumers in Australia, the UK and US spend on social media when using the web on a desktop has fallen, a study has shown.

Experian Marketing Services, the consumer insight business, found that US users spent 27% of their online time on a desktop using social media in 2012, compared to 30% during the previous year.

Comparable figures for the UK were 22%, down from 25%, and for Australia, 24%, down from 27%.

While these two countries saw a broadly equivalent increase in the proportion of time spent on entertainment – up from 13% to 15% in the UK and from 12% to 15% in Australia – the US recorded a slight fall, from 16% to 15%.

In fact, US online desktop users were diverting their time into unclassified "other" activities, up from 23% to 27%. This category accounted for 31% of time in the UK and 33% of time in Australia.

Experian suggested that the decrease in time spent on social media reflected a rise in access via 3G and 4G networks, as consumers were now spending more time online while on the move.

"Understanding consumer behavior across channels is more important than ever as more visits are being made on the move, particularly among social networking and email," said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services.

He noted that the data indicated clear differences between mobile and traditional desktop usage. "Marketers need to understand these differences, as well as regionally, to ensure campaigns can be tailored for better and more effective engagement," he added.

Across all three markets considered, UK consumers were more likely to spend a greater time shopping, at 10% compared to 9% in the US and 6% in Australia.

By contrast, Australians were more likely to seek out news content online, spending 6% of their time on this activity, compared to 5% for Britons and 4% for Americans.

Data sourced from Experian; additional content by Warc staff