The American population’s voracious appetite for digitised information and entertainment continues unabated, creating a groundswell of consumers who move seamlessly between smartphones, tablets and laptops to consume digital content, often using multiple devices at the same time.
The findings come in Deloitte’s seventh edition of the State of the Media Democracy survey, which reveals a 160 per cent growth in the number of digital omnivores – those consumers who own a trio of tablets, smartphones and laptops — with this group representing more than a quarter of US consumers.
The survey compares and contrasts generational preferences of over 2,100 consumers, ages 14 and older in the US, revealing significant technology, media and telecommunications consumption trends including attitudes and behaviour to advertising and social networks, mobile implications, consumption preferences across platforms and devices, and the Internet.
“Digital technology has emphatically triumphed in its penetration of the modern consumer lifestyle,” said Gerald Belson , vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and US Media & Entertainment sector leader. “While that trendline has been well documented, the surprise is how thoroughly digital tools have become essential across all age groups and consumer applications in the past year. This new reality creates opportunities – and an imperative – for organisations to differentiate themselves by utilizing multiple platforms to reach prospects and serve their customers.”
Noting that portability is key, the survey reveals that tablet ownership increased 177 per cent over the past year, with almost a third of tablet owners saying that it is now one of their top three most preferred consumer electronic devices. Meanwhile, smartphone ownership increased by 28 per cent, while laptop penetration remained strong.
When analysing the ways in which Americans utilise their devices, the survey found that tablet owners stream movies 70 per cent more often than non-tablet owners and intend to watch movies more than any other video content in the next 12 months. The use of multiple devices occurs even inside the home, as more than 80 per cent of consumers are multi-tasking while watching TV.
Moreover, trailing millennials aged 14 to 23 have nearly doubled their frequency of using online video services in the past year, in addition to increasing their frequency of watching TV shows on smartphones by five times, and frequency of watching TV on tablets by 10 times. The survey also reveals that more US consumers prefer to rent versus own their TV and movie content, and that they intend to rent versus buy by a ratio of 2:1.
“The explosion of media-capable devices has had a striking impact on consumer behaviour that poses interesting challenges for the entertainment industry and longstanding business models,” said Alma Derricks, director, Deloitte Consulting. “More than half of consumers have their TVs connected to the Internet in some way, and that group watches TV content from online sources over 40 per cent of the time. This behaviour impacts both the entertainment and advertising industries, and highlights the continued importance of using multiple platforms and devices to build brands and engage consumers.”
The survey suggests that gaming consoles are used for more than just gaming, with Americans now utilising the multi-functionality afforded by what was traditionally a singular-purpose device. The survey reveals that the gaming console has become the most preferred method for Americans to connect their TV to the Internet. Of those that have connected their TV to the Internet, 31 per cent prefer to connect via a gaming console.
Twenty per cent of consumers rank video games as a top three media activity, including mobile and social gaming in addition to consoles. In the last year, online video-gaming subscriptions have increased by 47 per cent, and millennials’ buying decisions are more influenced by advertising on videogames than any other generation.
In terms of the ‘connected home’, the survey reveals that 93 per cent of Americans rank Internet access as the most valued household subscription, and 72 per cent of US households have a computer network or router (up 20 percentage points in the past year). More than half of all consumers are willing to pay a premium for faster Internet connection, with tablet and smartphone owners more inclined to pay for faster connections as the intent to consume more content over the Internet continues to grow.
“Digital technology continues to transform the high-technology, media and telecom industries, and we expect the pace of change to accelerate in the next few years,” concludes Belson. “The proliferation of new devices and customer segments opens up new doors for engaging with customers and finding opportunities for growth and innovation.”