TBI Tech & Analysis: Tracking content & consumption habits during lockdown

Fateha Begum, associate director at TBI sibling Omdia, breaks down the latest findings from its bi-annual consumer survey, which explores how people are watching content and their media consumption habits online.

Omdia once again conducted its bi-annual consumer survey in April, exploring the adoption of various connected devices and delving into the media consumption habits of online consumers. The findings focus on consumers in the UK, the US, France, Germany, India, Japan and Brazil, with the excerpts below coming from fieldwork conducted during Covid-19 lockdowns in some of the countries surveyed.

Laying the groundwork

Lockdown and social distancing measures varied by market, which has meant that the impact of Covid-19 on viewing behaviours differs across markets. The UK, France, Germany and India went into nationwide lockdown in March, which continued into April.

In the US, measures varied by state with no nationwide lockdown imposed. However, a number of states imposed state-wide measures, particularly in hotspot areas and in populous cities. School closures and size limits on gatherings were in place in most states.

In Brazil and Japan, no nationwide lockdown was implemented despite a state of emergency declared. This meant that business closures differed across states and jurisdictions, although school closures did occur from March.

Stable viewing without lockdown

In Japan and Brazil, where no nationwide lockdown was in place, usage of connected devices for video viewing remained relatively stable or aligned with previous trends. This can be used as a base and to infer that stronger spikes seen in other markets can be attributed to local measures. Usage rates were compared over the past two years (four waves of surveys) to help exclude seasonality and natural trends.

In Germany, 50% of online households watched video content via a smart TV in April 2020, up from 43% in November 2019 and 42% in April 2019. Smart TVs became the most used connected device, on par with PCs. Smartphones also saw an uplift in video usage rates as more than half of smartphone owners used the device to access video services.

Netflix’s smart move

Netflix overtook Amazon’s Prime Video in terms of users of smart TV’s for the first time in April, although Prime Video continues to lead the German market in terms of subscriptions and total users. Video users on smartphones increased in Germany, India, the UK and the US in April at a higher rate than previous increases.

April also saw a reverse in decline in the usage of laptops and desktop PCs as video viewing devices in India, the UK and the US. The percentage of households using PCs to access video services has been falling over recent years but it saw a significant uplift in April. In India, PC usage for any purpose increased in the master bedroom and second living area. In the UK, uplift was seen in the home office and kitchen, while the US saw increases across all rooms around the home, particularly in the master bedroom and home office.

Tablets take off & YouTube rises

Tablets had also seen declines over recent years, both in terms of installed base and usage as a video viewing device. However, online consumers in India and the UK returned to tablets during lockdown, with noticeable uplift in both markets.

Tablet usage, for any purpose, saw uplifts in all rooms in India while the master bedroom and children’s bedroom saw uplift in the UK.

Services such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video all saw an uptick in usage in the UK during April compared with November 2019. However, broadcaster VOD services saw a decline on the device. In India, usage of mobile/computing devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs is closely linked to household size, particularly for smartphones.

Fateha Begum is an associate director at TBI sibling Omdia, where she works in the connected devices & media division. Omdia’s Consumer Research: Devices, Media & Usage – Premium service conducts the bi-annual consumer survey, which tracks the latest changes in viewing habits.

Tags: Amazon, Netflix, OMDIA

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