By JAMES B. STEWART
Facebook reported dazzling first quarter results last week: Net income nearly tripled to $1.5 billion, and monthly active users hit a record 1.65 billion. But it’s a much smaller number that leapt out at me.
That’s the average amount of time, the company said, that users spend each day on its Facebook,Instagram and Messenger platforms (and that’s not counting the popular messaging app WhatsApp).
Maybe that doesn’t sound like so much. But there are only 24 hours in a day, and the average person sleeps for 8.8 of them. That means more than one-sixteenth of the average user’s waking time is spent on Facebook.
The average time that users spend on Facebook is nearing an hour. That’s more than any other leisure activity surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours). It’s more time than people spend reading (19 minutes); participating in sports or exercise (17 minutes); or social events (four minutes). It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours).
“When you really think about it, 50 minutes is a tremendous amount of time — it’s huge,” said Ken Sena, a managing director and analyst at Evercore who covers consumer Internet companies. “Usually, when a platform expands its user base, the average time spent goes down, because a lot of new people aren’t that active.”