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Average American spends equal time online and watching TV, report says

December 13, 2010 |  2:48 pm

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For the first time ever, the average American spends as much time online as watching TV offline -- about 13 hours a week, according to a report.

Over the last five years, the amount of time spent watching TV has increased about 5%, but the time spent surfing the Web has grown 121%, Forrester Research said in an annual report about online consumer habits.

The growth in Web consumption has been fueled by a number of factors, among the most popular being e-mail.

About 92% of people use e-mail and about 60% of people shop online, Forrester said in its report. Three years ago, only about a third of people went to the Web to shop, the report said.

Nearly half of all Americans use the Web to share photos with friends and family, Forrester said.

And about 35% of people in the U.S. use social networking websites, up from 17% three years ago, the report said.

But doing more online means doing less offline.

Over the last five years, listening to radio over the airwaves has decreased 15%. During that same period, reading print newspapers has dropped 26% and reading printed-on-paper magazines has fallen 18%, according to the report.

Forrester's data for its report came from a survey of about 30,000 U.S. consumers.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo: A viewer watches an episode of "Entourage" on her laptop at home in Los Angeles in September. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times

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