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Phones, tablets the go-to devices for downloads

Findings from Limelight Networks annual State of Digital Downloads report – which studies consumer perceptions and behaviours around digital content – suggest that nearly half (45 per cent) of consumers are more likely to download digital content of all types than they were a year ago. And the devices to which they are saving movies, television programmes, songs and games may surprise observers.

Perhaps the most unexpected discovery, in just the past few months the smartphone has displaced the PC as the dominant device for the download and consumption of content. More users downloaded content onto Android-based smartphones (62 per cent), while Apple’s iPad (used by 43 per cent), was nearly tied with Android tablets (45 per cent). As such, the Google Play store led the way as the prevalent destination for content downloads.

And what are people downloading on these mobile devices and when are they most likely to do so? Beyond OS updates, consumers are leaning mostly toward entertainment: new apps (33 per cent), video games (18 per cent), and movies and TV shows (13 per cent). The bulk of downloading occurs at night – indicating that like the golden age of television, the hours of 6pm to midnight are “prime time” for acquiring and consuming entertainment. More than 40 per cent download movies and TV shows during these hours, with 35 per cent similarly downloading video games and music.

“Mobile devices are never more than an arm’s length away—while it’s surprising that they have overtaken the PC and laptop for content downloads, it’s not shocking: widely-reported statistics in 2015 showed the smartphone being utilised more regularly than other devices for accessing the Internet,” said Jason Thibeault, senior director, content marketing at Limelight Networks. “This used to be simply among the Millennial set—now it’s a universal truth.”

The shift to wireless devices brought a swing in expectations—the smaller the screen, the greater the impatience, particularly among Millennial users. A slowdown or interruption in downloads leads to consumer frustration as 26 per cent cite “it takes too long to complete the download” as the most significant impediment to enjoying a great digital experience and blame is directed toward mobile carriers or cable broadband providers. This is particularly true among younger users—they download the most content, are the most easily frustrated, and quickest to ascribe blame when the download experience was less than optimal.

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