US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron

 
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US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
US TIME
SPENT WITH
MEDIA 2020
Gains in Consumer Usage During
the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond
APRIL 2020
Mark Dolliver
Contributors: Oscar Orozco
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING
 THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND
Driven by a combination of the effects of the coronavirus crisis and pre-pandemic trends, the average time US
consumers spend with media will rise by more than 1 hour per day this year, to 13 hours, 35 minutes. While
receding somewhat in the next two years, the total will remain well above 2019’s level.

Has the coronavirus pandemic affected patterns of
time spent with media?
Affected, yes. Transformed, no. Some trends have
accelerated, while others have slowed. But patterns of
media usage are mostly moving in the directions they
were pre-COVID, with traditional TV’s temporary reversal
of decline a notable exception.

What will be the big winners this year in time spent?
Time spent with social media, whose gains had stalled in
recent years, is getting a boost. Smartphone time
and digital video time are still rising, and with an
extra-large bump in 2020. However, less commuting to
work amid stay-at-home orders and the coming recession
means an interruption to digital audio’s growth.

Will changes in 2020 outlive the pandemic and its
economic aftershocks?
Partly. We think some categories (like social) will
mostly hold onto the increase they’re seeing this year.                                KEY STAT: Largely, though not wholly, due to the
Subscription video and smartphone time will continue to                                coronavirus and the coming recession, we’ve significantly
grow (albeit less briskly) from 2020’s elevated level. But                             raised our forecast of how much daily time consumers
traditional TV will give up most of its 2020 windfall.                                 will spend with media.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report delves into our latest
forecast on time spent with media by US consumers,
highlighting the COVID-19 effect on our numbers while
examining trends that pre-date and will persist beyond the                                 CONTENTS
current crisis.
                                                                                       2    US Time Spent with Media 2020: Gains in Consumer Usage
                                                                                            During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond
                                                                                       3    Crisis Time—and Beyond Crisis Time
                                                                                       4    Summing Up the Main Time Spent Numbers
                                                                                       5    More and More Video Viewing
                                                                                       6    Mobile Usage in Not-So-Mobile Times
                                                                                       7    Trying to Stay Social
                                                                                       8    Key Takeaways
                                                                                       8    Editorial and Production Contributors

    US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND            ©2020 EMARKETER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   2
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
An important note on how we account for multitasking in
our estimates of time spent with media: If someone spends
an hour watching TV (for example) and uses a smartphone
to surf the web during the same hour, we count this as an
hour of usage for each medium, and hence as 2 hours of
total media time.

 CRISIS TIME—AND BEYOND
 CRISIS TIME
With time on their hands and no place to go, US
consumers have been spending lots of time using
media. But that’s also what they were doing before
anyone had heard of COVID-19. Our new forecasts
on time spent with media help illuminate what’s
resulting from the current crisis and what stems from
ongoing trends.

Our complete estimates for US time spent with media can
be found in this report’s accompanying spreadsheet.
                                                                                       During a crisis, there’s a natural tendency to think
Stay-at-home orders have added some twists to                                          everything is changing forever. Some aspects of
consumers’ media usage, as will the coming recession.                                  consumer media behavior (like growth in usage of
The weeks and perhaps months of physical social                                        subscription video) are indeed changing in durable ways,
distancing have restarted growth in time spent with                                    and our forecast shines a spotlight on them. Seen in
online social networking, which had plateaued in recent                                the whole, though, our forecast also makes it clear
years—but will then plateau again at 2020’s higher level.                              that trends in time spent we saw before the crisis are
Some long-term trends in media usage have so much                                      largely continuing, even if at a different velocity. Thus, our
momentum that a major pandemic does not deflect                                        forecast will help marketers broaden their gaze to include
them. Thus, we see consumers continuing to increase                                    an understanding of the environment they’ll be dealing
their time spent with mobile even while essentially                                    with over the longer haul, as well as grasping consumer
immobilized at home. More broadly, the long migration                                  behavior in the current moment.
of time spent to digital media continues, pandemic or
no pandemic.

    US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND           ©2020 EMARKETER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   3
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
Behind the Numbers
Our methodology for US time spent with media forecast
is based on an analysis of 3,223 metrics from 158 sources.
This analysis involves the collection of third-party
data—primarily survey data—from adult respondents,
asking them about their media use habits. Data is also
sourced from online and mobile activity tracking services,
government data and interviews with industry experts.
Using a bottom-up analysis, we assess and analyze
reported time spent with each device and media activity
across various sources. And where definitions differ,
the data is normalized and interpreted in terms of our
definition (i.e., the US population age 18 and older). The
data is then aggregated with the time contributions from
each device and media type to arrive at an estimate for
average time spent with media per day.
In order to arrive at forecasts for growth rates by media
and by device, this analysis is followed by extensive
assessments of historical and expected future growth
patterns with regard to device adoption, multiple and
overlapping device usage, population and demographic
factors and competitors to existing devices and activities.

 SUMMING UP THE MAIN TIME
 SPENT NUMBERS
                                                                                       Had the coronavirus pandemic not come along, we would
Having edged up just slightly in recent years, our
                                                                                       be increasing some of our forecast numbers anyway as
forecast figure for average daily time spent with                                      more information has emerged about consumers’ media
media by US adults will jump by more than 1 hour                                       time, notably including over-the-top (OTT) subscription
this year, to 13 hours, 35 minutes. (For simplicity,                                   video viewing and recent smartphone usage. That
our style for presenting such a number in the text                                     would have boosted our daily time spent total by about
that follows will be 13:35.) Moreover, we expect                                       15 to 20 minutes. Thus, while much of the gain in time
                                                                                       spent is pandemic-related, a significant portion is not—
the total to retain much of this year’s gain during
                                                                                       another reason why we see the increase as more than a
2021 and 2022—a post-pandemic period in which
                                                                                       temporary blip.
unemployment will strand many people at home, as
will lingering wariness about the outside world.                                       Amid abrupt changes in time spent in various categories,
                                                                                       the share of total time consumers give to each element of
The bump in the total reflects strong gains in many                                    usage reveals more continuity of trend lines. For instance,
individual categories our forecast covers. Smartphone                                  despite its increase in minutes, TV will gain just one-tenth
time, digital video time, social media time—they’re all                                of a percentage point in share of total time spent in 2020
up significantly. Even time spent with desktops/laptops,                               (to 28.1%) and then resume its decline in 2021 (to 26.9%).
which had been drifting down, gets a temporary boost.
So does TV, a medium whose declining numbers in recent                                 Conversely, the smartphone continues to expand its
years have largely offset the gains in digital categories.                             presence, with its share of time spent growing from
Then again, print stays on its downward trajectory,                                    21.8% last year to 22.8% this year, and then on to 24.8%
likely worsened by the decline in commuting and an                                     in 2022. A medium’s share of time spent doesn’t always
accelerated shift to digital alternatives.                                             match the amount of chatter it elicits. Radio—scarcely a
                                                                                       buzzed-about medium—has a much bigger share of time
                                                                                       spent than social, 11.7% vs. 7.3%. Print’s share is a bit
                                                                                       higher than podcasting’s, 2.1% vs. 1.7%.

    US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND          ©2020 EMARKETER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   4
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
Digital video’s growth is coming at an accelerated pace.
                                                                                      We expect its daily time spent to surpass the 2-hour mark
                                                                                      this year, reaching 2:01—up from 1:42 in 2019. Just as
                                                                                      striking, we expect it to hang onto that steep increase
                                                                                      and even grow a bit more in 2021 (2:06) and 2022 (2:10).
                                                                                      Far from sating consumers’ appetite for digital video,
                                                                                      2020 seems to be whetting it.

                                                                                      Much of this usage is via mobile. We expect mobile
                                                                                      video to continue its rise this year, gaining 5 minutes
                                                                                      per day, to 47 minutes. The catchall “other” category—
                                                                                      which includes connected TVs, OTT devices and game
                                                                                      consoles—has been growing even more strongly as a
                                                                                      pathway to video content, and we expect it to surge past
                                                                                      mobile this year, chipping in 50 minutes.

In years when our time spent total was growing robustly,
media multitasking was a key factor as many consumers
shared their attention between the TV and another
screen. More recently, the replacement of much linear TV
time by on-demand digital video brought a slowdown in
such multitasking. So did the fact that much of time spent
was coming from the smartphone, often when it was
the only device a consumer had on hand while out and
about. During the pandemic, people have spent day after
day at home where they’re surrounded by every device
they own. This has likely brought a resurgence in media
multitasking and helped push the time spent total higher.                             On the content side of things, it didn’t take a pandemic
                                                                                      to win an avid audience for streaming services. Still, it’s
                                                                                      evident that keeping people at home has meant adding
                                                                                      to their time spent with Netflix and other subscription
 MORE AND MORE VIDEO VIEWING                                                          services. Our forecast pegs this as the year when daily
                                                                                      time spent with OTT subscription video exceeds a full
Time spent with digital video and nondigital TV are                                   hour, at 1:02. Netflix alone will account for 30 minutes. In
both getting a boost from the coronavirus crisis. But                                 2020, subscription video will account for more than half of
the gains come atop years of growth for digital video,                                time spent with digital video overall for the first time, and
while just temporarily interrupting a long decline                                    we expect it to keep increasing its share—from 51.4%
                                                                                      this year to 53.7% in 2022.
for traditional TV. Even as TV’s minutes rise in 2020,
we expect its share of the TV/digital video total to
keep shrinking.

   US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND          ©2020 EMARKETER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   5
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
If any institution can be called a beneficiary of the                                  There are vast differences among age groups, though, in
COVID-19 crisis, nondigital TV fits the bill—temporarily.                              how big a presence TV is. Our estimate for 2020 shows
We expect time spent with TV to gain 19 minutes in 2020,                               baby boomers averaging more than twice as much TV
to a daily average of 3:49. That’s a dramatic turnaround                               time per day as millennials, at 5:35 vs. 2:15. Gen Xers
from a period in which TV lost bunches of minutes each                                 fall in between, at 3:49. Tellingly, Gen Z (ages 8 to 23
year—for instance, declining by 12 minutes in 2019. The                                this year, by our definition) is the one age cohort in our
gains are coming largely during daytime hours—i.e., hours                              forecast that barely gets a bump in TV time amid the
when many people would normally be at work.                                            pandemic. We estimate their figure this year at 1:36,
                                                                                       vs. 1:33 last year. Though cord-cutting may have paused
But the increase won’t last. Although 2021 will benefit                                amid hunger for news, it is likely to resume among
from the shift of the Summer Olympics and other big                                    younger consumers and further widen the age gap in TV
events, TV will nonetheless give up most of its 2020                                   time spent.
gains next year. And by 2022, we predict that its time
spent total (3:24) will be back below where it was in 2019.
That said, TV’s total will still be well above that of digital
video throughout our forecast period. Years of decline                                   MOBILE USAGE IN
notwithstanding, it remains a large part of the media mix                                NOT-SO-MOBILE TIMES
for a large majority of adults.
                                                                                       Since becoming a common household item, the
                                                                                       smartphone has been the pre-eminent force driving
                                                                                       increases in consumer time spent with media. And
                                                                                       while the device’s enablement of anytime/anywhere
                                                                                       media usage typically means less time with users at
                                                                                       home, it continues to play that role.

                                                                                       We expect time spent with smartphones in 2020 to
                                                                                       average 3:06 per day as calculated across the whole adult
                                                                                       population. That’s a big jump from our 2019 figure of 2:43,
                                                                                       which was itself a sizable increase from 2018 (2:25). And
                                                                                       we expect more (albeit smaller) gains through the rest of
                                                                                       the forecast period.

    US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND          ©2020 EMARKETER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   6
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
Smartphone time among adults keeps rising in part                                      It’s not as though non-users of social networks have been
because gains in penetration haven’t entirely stopped.                                 joining in droves. We expect social penetration to tick up
We expect penetration to have risen by 5 full percentage                               from 70.9% in 2019 to 72.2% this year, consistent with
points—from 78.9% to 83.9%—between 2018 and 2022.                                      its pre-pandemic pace of increase. Rather, the gain comes
That’s about double the growth rate for tablet penetration,                            from an increase in usage among people who already are
which has nearly leveled off around 54%. Tablet time                                   users. Daily time spent among social users (rather than
among adults has also plateaued, and at a much lower                                   as calculated across total adults) is expected to climb by 7
plateau than smartphone time. We expect daily tablet                                   minutes this year, to 1:22.
time to average 1:10 this year—1 minute above 2018’s
figure and 2 minutes above 2019’s—before subsiding                                     Though the pandemic has kept many people confined in
to 1:08 the next two years. The obvious caveat is that                                 proximity to desktop/laptop computers, smartphones are
the tablet is often more a family device than a personal                               driving the gain in social time. We expect smartphone
device, and kids (whose usage is not reflected in our                                  social time to rise from 41 minutes in 2019 to 47 minutes
numbers) are often the ones racking up time with it.                                   in 2020, before gaining another minute in 2022. Desktop/
                                                                                       laptop social time has declined steadily from its 2011
These days, smartphone time mostly means app time                                      peak (21 minutes) as the smartphone has taken over as
rather than browser time. Smartphone app time passed                                   consumers’ social networking device of choice. We see
90% in 2018 as a proportion of total smartphone internet                               the figure pausing at 6 minutes per day in 2020 and 2021
time, and we expect the figure to reach 93.1% in 2022.                                 before resuming its decline with a 1-minute loss in 2022.

The pandemic has affected the mix of consumers’ time                                   Going into 2020, Facebook was on a three-year losing
with mobile apps. Predictably, there has been less                                     streak for time spent as calculated just among Facebook
attention to apps for travel, weather and shopping. Other                              users. After peaking at 40 minutes per day in 2016, the
categories have benefited from the surge in overall digital                            figure had drifted down to 33 minutes in 2019. We expect
time spent. Mobile social apps are a big gainer, rising                                a slight uptick in 2020 to 34 minutes, as online social time
from 41 minutes last year to 52 minutes this year. We                                  partly compensates for the loss of in-person interaction.
expect mobile gaming apps to grow from 23 minutes                                      But we expect the decline to resume in 2022 with a
last year to 26 minutes this year. Mobile audio app time                               1-minute loss.
is also expected to rise (to 59 minutes, vs. 57 minutes
in 2019), but more slowly than in previous years as the                                Still, with Facebook’s immense reach—we estimate
decline in commuting has worked against digital audio                                  that 63.4% of US adults will be users this year—it racks
time in general.                                                                       up more time spent across the adult population than
                                                                                       Instagram and Snapchat combined. The latter two have
                                                                                       been growing, but from a smaller base. Elsewhere in the
                                                                                       socialsphere, LinkedIn is likely to see a gain in time spent
 TRYING TO STAY SOCIAL                                                                 as people who have lost jobs turn to the platform in their
                                                                                       efforts to find new ones.
In a year when “social distancing” has joined the
everyday vocabulary, online social networking is less
a plaything and more a necessity. And that’s reflected
in time spent with social.

We forecast that time spent with social will jump 10.8%
to 59 minutes in 2020. The rise is especially noteworthy
since it follows a span of three years in which social time
had plateaued, at 53 minutes. And we expect social to
mostly retain 2020’s gains the next two years, holding at
59 minutes in 2021 and losing just 1 minute in 2022.

    US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND          ©2020 EMARKETER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   7
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
EDITORIAL AND
                                                                                           PRODUCTION CONTRIBUTORS
                                                                                         Anam Baig               Senior Editor
                                                                                         Joanne DiCamillo        Senior Production Artist
                                                                                         Donte Gibson            Chart Editor
                                                                                         Katie Hamblin           Chart Editorial Manager
                                                                                         Dana Hill               Director of Production
                                                                                         Erika Huber             Copy Editor
                                                                                         Ann Marie Kerwin        Executive Editor, Content Strategy
                                                                                         Stephanie Meyer         Senior Production Artist
                                                                                         Heather Price           Deputy Editor
                                                                                         Magenta Ranero          Senior Chart Editor
                                                                                         Amanda Silvestri        Senior Copy Editor

As is true of social networks, mobile messaging apps are
getting more usage from consumers eager to keep in
touch with people they can’t see face-to-face. We forecast
a 19.8% jump in time spent with mobile messaging apps
in 2020, to 24 minutes. And the category will hold at 24
minutes the following two years. Mobile messaging apps
benefit from a shift from mere texting as consumers
gravitate toward video calling via those platforms.

 KEY TAKEAWAYS
■■   The boost in media time spent partly reflects
     more simultaneous usage by people stuck at
     home with multiple devices—hence, probably
     less-than-rapt attention to a marketer’s messaging
     via any one platform.

■■   The increase in subscription video means
     consumers are less available to marketers’
     messaging. But traditional TV’s boost in 2020 creates
     (temporarily) more of an audience for that
     ad-supported medium.

■■   Don’t expect time spent to snap back to where
     it was in 2019. Patterns of usage were evolving in
     any case. And economic fallout from the coronavirus
     pandemic will inevitably influence consumers’ behavior
     beyond 2020, including their time spent with media.

      US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020: GAINS IN CONSUMER USAGE DURING THE YEAR OF COVID-19 AND BEYOND         ©2020 EMARKETER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   8
US TIME SPENT WITH MEDIA 2020 - Gains in Consumer Usage During the Year of COVID-19 and Beyond - Ciceron
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