When Olivia Valentine (Global Web Index) presented in Readmagine her insights on consumer trends during the lockdown there wer few data on the hands of the content industry and the audience was eager to hear on the first results research compiled by GWI.
Valentine was introduced by Luis González (Director General of Fundación GSR) and José Manuel Anta (Managing director of IPDA) as part of the series of presentations that this leading research team (GWI) has being providing in every Readmagine event during the last years.
To date, through three waves of dedicated COVID-19 research across 17 markets, GWI explored and tracked its impact on consumers and how they’re responding and behaving off the back of the pandemic. The presentation by Olivia Valentine was followed with much interest because there were among the first relevant data on the behaviours of consumers during the lockdown.
The general landscape indicated that many of the respondents were dedicating more time to learning, literature and similar activities.
Valentine exposed how COVID-19 and its social distancing measures continue to cloud and disrupt daily lives across the globe, the beginning of the new decade has been marked by a sudden shock in the way media is consumed across all demographics, and has undoubtedly redefined the future of media consumption.
With more empty hours to be filled each day, 95% of consumers say they’re now spending more time on in-home media activities, and after weeks of lockdown, consumers are dedicating more time to offline activities to pass the time too. Books/literature for one has fallen more into consumer favor; a third are reading more books or listening to more audiobooks, and many of these say they’ll carry on doing so. Subscription models especially have had an opportunity to shine.
During the 1st of June session, Valentine explored these key changes in media consumption in more detail, as well as what the post-outbreak landscape will look like. Which media will continue to fare better than before, which trends will disappear, and what might the ‘new normal’ look like.
Through the three first waves of dedicated COVID-19 research across 17 markets, GWI explored and tracked its impact on consumers and how they’re responding and behaving off the back of the pandemic.
One of the most important data was that 68% of consumers say they’re searching for coronavirus updates on the internet – making it the biggest online activity. The appeal of group activities has risen due to social distancing.
When asked what they’ve been up to in their homes during the outbreak, consumers cited three top activities:
- 67% are watching more news coverage.
- 53% are spending more time socializing as a family.
- 51% are watching more shows on streaming services like Netflix.
Watching more news coverage tops the charts for each generation, with Gen X leading the way (68%). However, the data tells an interesting story when we look at their second most prominent answer:
- Gen Z are spending longer on messaging services (62%)
- Millennials are streaming more films online (58%)
- Gen X are spending more time with their families (52%)
- Baby boomers are watching more broadcast TV (51%)
However, not all behaviors are taking place sequentially. On the contrary, a lot of activities occupying people’s time are happening simultaneously, and we need to move beyond demographics to explore these cross-channel behaviors:
- Coronavirus content currently dominates consumers’ time online across markets, income groups, gender and most generations – except for Gen Z. Instead, Gen Z are more likely to be listening to music (71%) than searching for coronavirus updates (67%).
- Men (73%) are more inclined to search for coronavirus news than women (62%) – but it still remains the top activity for both genders.
Aside from coronavirus content, people are consuming a wide variety of entertaining content online during the outbreak, such as listening to music (58%), watching movies/shows (49%), watching funny videos (42%), playing games on mobile (40%), and looking at memes (32%).
The outbreak is bringing back the “social” aspects of social media:
- 49% of U.S. and 39% of UK consumers are reading more news stories on social media as a result of the outbreak – this is the primary motivator to use social media across markets, gender, and income right now.
- We do see some differences by age; baby boomers are using social media more to keep in touch with friends (30%) than to read more news (27%). Conversely, 54% of millennials are turning to social media to read more news.
Predictably, younger generations are generally consuming more media than older generations, and we see some notable differences by age. Just over half of Gen Z say they’re consuming more online videos like YouTube and TikTok more than other generations, making it their top media to consume right now.
- 42% of boomers are consuming more broadcast TV compared to 24% of Gen Z. Just over 1 in 5 boomers are also spending more time on online TV, this peaks at 41% for millennials.
- Livestreams (30%) and podcasts (20%) are more popular among millennials than other generations.
- Men and those in the higher income bracket are more likely to say they’re consuming a variety of content more compared to women and those in the lower income bracket.
There’s a strong appetite to pay for more media subscriptions:
- As in-home entertainment becomes our primary source of leisure, around 40% in the UK and U.S. are considering purchasing new media subscriptions to pass the time.
- Above all, it’s TV/movie subscription services which are at the top of our agenda. Netflix can boast the highest rate of those considering purchasing a subscription (18%), but in the UK, the launch of Disney+ seems to have made a big impact – UK consumers are as likely to consider purchasing this service (15%) as they are Netflix (14%).
- Higher income groups are only slightly more likely to consider a Netflix subscription than the lower groups, but their appetite for Disney+ is considerably larger, likely due to the fact that Disney+ will be an added service on top of existing subscriptions in most cases.
- Spotify is the clear winner for those considering paid music streaming service subscriptions, and Amazon Prime Music sees more intent than Apple Music.
Olivia Valentine is a Senior Strategic Insights Analyst at GlobalWebIndex, a market research company running the world’s largest ongoing survey on the digital consumer. She analyses this rich dataset to uncover insights in media and beyond to deconstruct consumer needs and behaviors, helping brands and marketers to know and understand ever changing audiences.
The Readmagine’s team asked her to propose a motto or a general statement linked to the cultural industries and she shared this idea: “For content creators to truly connect with consumers and leave a lasting impression, the impact of established human traits, habits and social constructs needs to be considered”.
Readmagine 2020 managed to adapt to the impossibility of bringing the participants together at Casa del Lector as in previous editions through a collaboration and digitization strategy. This organization along with Digital Publishing Summit adapted to the difficulties that arose for a physical event during the first wave of Covid-19 for a meeting very much based on the interaction of some professionals with others at the very beginning of June. The bet that involved quite a few risks has catapulted Readmagine as a global event, which during these days is bringing together 550 professionals from the international publishing industry.