Accenture: Consumers buying fewer TVs, watching less content

A pre-CES survey from consulting firm Accenture suggests that consumers intend to buy fewer televisions this year and fewer are regularly watching content on them. According to the 2012 Global Consumer Electronics Products and Services Usage Report – which surveyed 10,000 consumers across Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States – consumers are rapidly turning to other consumer electronics devices such as smartphones and tablet computers to view media, while also using more online services and downloading applications for various purposes, including entertainment.

The annual survey found that the percentage of consumers watching broadcast or cable TV in a typical week on televisions fell from 71 per cent in 2009 to 48 per cent in 2011. Consistent with this, the percentage of consumers who intend to buy a TV set during the next 12 months declined from 35 per cent in 2010 to 32 per cent in 2011.

“The battle for consumers’ eyeballs and time is intensifying, viewership continues to disperse, and we are starting to see the impact on the TV as a screen in the home,” said Mitch Cline, global managing director of Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech Group. “Craving an always-on, always-connected lifestyle, consumers increasingly are using other consumer electronics devices in their daily lives to access the entertainment that only TV once provided. While consumers will no doubt continue to buy TVs, consumers’ preferences are shifting. They are rapidly substituting other screens, such as laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones, to view media content,” he advised.

The research uncovered soaring growth in use of smartphones and tablets as consumers increasingly value mobility. More than half (53 per cent) of survey respondents own a smartphone, up from 28 per cent in 2010. Ownership of tablets climbed to 12 per cent in 2011 from 8 per cent in 2010. When consumers were asked about plans to purchase consumer electronics devices in 2011 and 2012, the story remained consistent. The percentage of respondents who plan to purchase a smartphone rose from 24 per cent to 27 per cent; for tablets, the percentage jumped from 8 per cent to 16 per cent. These consumer electronics devices are increasingly being used for entertainment purposes. For example, 44 per cent of tablet owners stream media content, and 43 per cent download applications at least once per week.

In terms of online services and cloud computing, more than half (56 per cent) of the survey respondents indicated they have changed their behaviours due to online services and cloud computing. Nearly one-third (32 per cent) have stopped, or almost stopped, renting or buying DVDs; one-quarter (25 per cent) share more personal content with family and friends; and 19 per cent access their personal content from more devices than before. Three-quarters (75 per cent) use an online mailbox, 37 per cent play online games, and 26 per cent stream media content. The younger generation (18-34 year olds) are even heavier uses of online services, with almost half (47 per cent) playing online games and more than a third (36 per cent) streaming media content.

As for downloading apps, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents indicated they download apps, usually from consumer electronics device manufacturers and software providers’ application stores. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) use information applications (news, weather and sports); 58 per cent use networking applications (social/professional networking); and more than half (56 per cent) use entertainment applications (music, single or group games, and videos).

In terms of the effect television pricing had on purchase intentions, respondents were asked what would make them more inclined to buy a TV. More than half (55 per cent) indicated they would purchase a television if the price was within their budget; 42 per cent indicated a television with high-definition resolution was an important consideration. Only a quarter (25 per cent) cited 3D functionality as a desired capability of a new TV. Likewise, one-quarter (25 per cent) indicated they would be more predisposed to buying a TV if it offered the ability to connect to the web to access the Internet and personal content.

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