Deloitte’s eighth edition of the Digital Democracy Survey reveals that over one third (37 per cent) of US consumers are now digital omnivores, a 42 per cent growth over the previous year. This growth is primarily driven by continued tablet adoption (33 per cent increase) and, to a lesser extent, smartphone ownership (18 per cent increase). Moreover, women, who made up over one-third (35 per cent) of omnivores two years ago, now account for 45 per cent of this group.
Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey compares and contrasts generational preferences of more than 2,000 consumers, ages 14 and older in the US, revealing significant technology, media and telecommunications consumption trends, including attitudes and behaviour toward advertising and social networks, mobile technologies, the Internet, and consumption preferences across platforms and devices.
“The continued rise of the digital omnivore is an indication that consumers, across generations, are hungry for content across devices, especially media and gaming content on mobile devices,” said Gerald Belson, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and US Media & Entertainment sector leader. “Consumers are often now able to watch the content they want on the device of their choosing. As an example, they have decoupled the notion that TV shows have to be watched on home TVs. This trend is particularly evident in trailing millennials (aged 14 to 24), who indicated they now spend more time watching television and movie content on non-traditional devices than on TVs.”
Evolving Consumption Models
The survey reveals that US consumer interest in streaming content has nearly doubled in the past year (from 17 per cent in 2012 to 32 percent in 2013), with interest in digital formats outpacing demand for physical media. Consumption of media is increasing, but US consumers prefer to rent versus purchase movies and television programming by a ratio of 3:1 in 2013, compared to 2:1 in 2012. This trend is even more pronounced for the trailing millennials.
Despite increased interest in digital formats, consumers’ preference for pay-TV subscriptions remains consistent with last year’s finding, as US consumers indicate they are largely content with their current pay-TV services. The survey notes than only six per cent of consumers who have paid TV services are considering giving up their service in the next year. Furthermore, interest in accessing and purchasing a la carte programming is equal to consumer interest in bundled cable packages with both at 47 per cent in 2013.
Multitasking on the rise
As new media devices become easily available and ownership increases, US consumers continue to be more distracted while watching home TVs, with 86 per cent multitasking, up from 72 per cent in 2011. Millennials are the most active multitaskers, engaging in an average of four activities while watching TV. Gen-Xers and boomers are also multitasking more, with both generations engaging in more than one additional activity in 2013 while watching TV. However, fewer than one-quarter (22 per cent) of multitasking activities are directly related to the programs that consumers are watching.
“This year’s results indicate an economic shift in the content industry. Consumer preference for renting instead of buying is driving content distribution models toward a higher volume, lower revenue rental model,” said Alma Derricks, director, Deloitte Consulting. “Coupled with the increase in multitasking and the fact that viability of second screen services remains unproven, consumers are driving a fundamental shift in industry practices. Even with so much fragmentation in the market, there’s an enormous opportunity to capitalize on these behaviours and create offerings that engage consumers in new, meaningful ways.”
Gaming Beyond the Console
As mobile device ownership grows, interactive videogaming is expanding beyond dedicated gaming consoles, with consumers spending nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of their gaming time on smartphones and tablets. This trend is even more pronounced among younger generations, led by females who spend 26 per cent of their time gaming on smartphones and tablets.
Consumers also continue to utilise the multi-functionality of gaming consoles, with 42 per cent using their console to play physical discs, 32 per cent to stream movie and TV content, and 26 percent using their console to watch online content.
Social Media Influences All
The impact of social media on consumers’ daily lives is profound, with more than half (54 per cent) of US consumers checking social networks daily, some as often as 10 times a day or more.
Social media’s impact on consumers’ buying decisions is also profound. Online reviews or recommendations from someone within an individual’s social media circles are especially impactful, even when the reviewer has no relationship to the consumer. Among US consumers, the majority (68 per cent) say that online reviews or recommendations from someone within their social media circles have a high or medium level of influence over buying decisions. Online reviews by strangers are also gaining credibility with 60 per cent of consumers reporting online reviews by someone they do not know having a high to medium influence over their buying decisions.
“Changes in how content is consumed across multiple devices accelerates as new technology is introduced,” concludes Belson. “This trend will continue as more consumers gain access to new media devices and consumption platforms. It brings about new challenges and exciting opportunities for organisations in the technology, media and telecom industries.”
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