NEW YORK: Watching a video clip is the most popular activity for American internet users, according to new research, which also found that digital behaviour varies considerably across different online platforms.

The study from digital research firm Globalwebindex covered US internet users aged 16 to 65 over the first to third quarters of 2013, asking which online activity they performed in the past month via either a PC, mobile or tablet.

Out of the 37 key activities listed, watching video emerged as the top activity across all platforms with 79% saying they watched a video clip on a PC, 72% on a mobile and 64% on a tablet.

Watching a full length sports programme was the second most popular activity on a tablet (at 62%) and the third most reported activity via a mobile (at 70%), but did not feature at all in the top 20 digital behaviours on a PC.

In another sign that PC usage differs from mobile and tablets, 70% of respondents said they used their PC to search for a product or service to buy – the third highest activity for this platform – but this did not register in the top 20 behaviours for users of other devices.

However, the results were much closer when it came to reviewing a product or brand online with 47% saying they used a PC, 38% a mobile and 35% a tablet.

In other key findings, using Instant Messenger was the fourth most popular behaviour on a mobile and a tablet, at 66% and 54% respectively, but using social networks remained far more popular via a PC – 65% said they used a PC to use a social networking service compared to only 42% via a mobile or 32% via a tablet.

The study further divided behaviour according to location and demographic profiles, finding, for example, that Asian Americans were the most likely to use a PC to manage or update a social network – as were residents of Utah.

Elsewhere, 76% of those living in Montana said they turned to online purchasing via a PC, an activity shared by only 50% of Alaskans and also just 53% of Hispanic Americans.

Data sourced from globalwebindex; additional content by Warc staff