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Digital Usage & Entertainment

Digital Consumer Trends 2022

The Digital Consumer Trends Survey is a global report measuring consumer preferences and habits around digital products and services. Spanning over a decade, our research in this field has tracked consumer behaviours across the history of smart devices - from the early adoption of smart phones through to the growth of smart speakers and the introduction of 5G.

Over the past 13 years, the Digital Consumer Trends Survey* has become firmly established within the technology, media and telecoms industry as a measure of digital consumer preferences and behavioural changes. The 2022 data set includes approximately 36,150 respondents across 21 countries and 4 continents.

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Digital Usage

  • Device access has stayed relatively stable overall in terms of penetration. Access to smartphones in Ireland remains consistent year on year with 94% of 18-75 year olds having access to one
  • The majority of adults (51%) wish they spent less time on devices, with the 18-34 year olds being more likely than other age groups to say so (63%)
  • 6 in 10 (59%) use their smartphone as soon as they wake up. This is highest among 18-34 year olds (71%) and among women (66% of them say so compared to 52% of men)
  • 57% of phone owners look at their phone within 15 minutes or less after waking up and 36% state that they look at their phone at least 50 times a day


  • Access to video streaming service subscriptions is stable at 75%. Netflix is still the leader, with nearly 2 in 3 (64%) having access to it
  • Disney+ continues to grow and is up by +9pp at 33%, compared to 2021
  • 20% cancelled a video streaming service in the P12M, with the main reason being that it wasn’t being used enough (32%), it was too expensive (22%) or they needed to spend less on subscriptions to account for rising costs (22%)

Smart device usage continues to grow

Over the last 2 years through the COVID-19 pandemic, technology connected us while we had to stay apart. Technology continues to keep us connected, with smartphone access remaining at 94%, with access to the old reliables, tablets and laptops, continuing their downward trend having peaked in 2017. Access to laptops is down 4pp to 79% and tablets down 3pp to 62%. Daily usage of laptops is also down year on year to 57% (65% in 2021) a continuing trend seen for the last number of years as other devices fill the role laptops held. The smart home continues to take hold with smart TVs growing to 66% up from 44% 5 years ago, a 50% increase. Voice assisted speakers have been the largest increase over the same period up from 3% in 2017 to 32% this year and 58% of us use them daily. Overall 88% of respondents now own at least one connected device. Gaming consoles also continues to grow up 3pp to 41%.

Figure 1. Access to smart TV, wearables, games consoles and voice assisted speakers continues to increase, while smartphone adoption has plateaued year on year.

Similar to trends observed in other countries, access to a smart watch has increased (+8pp growth to 32%), however access to fitness bands has dropped (-5pp to 28%) potentially indicating consumer preferences for more multifunctional wrist devices, such as the smart watch. The age demographics however is very different, with smart watches being the clear preference for the 18 – 34 year olds and the fitness bands being preferred by the 55 – 75 year olds. Steps is the most popular activity monitored across applicable devices at 55% of respondents, with women more actively monitoring health than men (64% vs 46%).

Figure 2. 55% of those who have a wearable or smartwatch monitor their steps; monitoring heart rate (33%) and sleeping patterns (29%) are other popular measures.

Are we becoming more concerned about of device usage?

We continue to use our smartphones a lot, with 93% using it every day, although marginally down on 2021 at 94%, with 96% of women doing so compared to 89% of men and 96% of those between 45 and 75 years old also checking it daily. 59% of respondents agree that they use their smartphone as soon as they wake up and 57% doing so within the first 15 minutes of waking up (58% in 2021) and a third using it during mealtime. Similarly, half of respondents tend to stay awake later than planned because they are using devices into the night, rising to 62% and 64% of those between 18-24 years old and 25-34 years old, respectively.

Half of respondents (51%) however wish they spent less time on devices, rising to 58% for women compared to 43% for men and the 18 to 34 years age group expressing the most concern.

Figure 3. 59% of respondents agree that they use their smartphone as soon as they wake up; 34% use it during mealtime. Half of respondents wished they spent less time on devices.

Figure 4. Smartphone usage: 91% of phone users check their phone within the first hour of waking up, with more than a third of people checking their phone within the first 5 minutes. All increasing for the last three years. 48% (2021: 51%) of the 18 – 24 year olds having checked their phone in the first 5 minutes!

36% of respondents check their phone at least 50 times a day, with 16% checking it at least 100 times a day. We can see that the percentage of respondents across all age categories checking their phone at least 50 times a day increasing since 2021. The smartphone is well and truly ingrained in our daily lives but potentially impact on our social interactions and sleep.

Figure 5. There is only a small difference in the number of times per day Irish male and female respondents look at their phones. What we do see is significant differences between the age groups.

Social Media remains at the top

Accessing social media platforms (64%) and instant messaging (62%) apps remains the top activity for smartphone users both increasing on 2021.

Figure 6. Using social networks (64%) and instant messaging apps (62%) are activities most performed daily on devices.

The smartphone is now the preferred device to browse shopping websites (2021: Laptop), making online purchases, for online searches, checking bank balances and gaming (2021: Gaming Consoles). For those over 55, the laptop remains the preferred device for most of these activities. The TV remains the preferred device for streaming, watching live TV and using catch up services.

Figure 7. Mobile has continued to become the preferred device for a growing number of applications & demographic groups. Phones have replaced gaming consoles for playing games among most age groups.

Entertaining the nation – streaming services stable

Access to subscription services having grown significantly over the last number of years remains stable at 75% in 2022 having risen from 55% in 2018. 

Figure 8. Access to SVOD services is stable year on year, reaching 75% in 2022.

Netflix remains the most popular with 64% of respondents having a Netflix subscription, which is marginally down on 2021 (65%) and the most popular amongst women at 73%. Disney+ continues to grow year on year from 24% to 33% in 2022. We don’t just use one provider either, in 2019 on average each subscriber had 1.2 subscriptions, this has risen to 2.2 in 2022. 

Figure 9. Average number of SVOD services (among those who subscribe) rose from 1.83 in 2021 to 2.20 in 2022.

Figure 10. Netflix is the overwhelming SVOD leader in streaming services, used by 2 in 3 respondents. Disney+ is second and used by 1 in 3, closely followed by Amazon Prime Video.

The rate at which new subscribers are signing up appears to be falling with only 20% of respondents adding a new subscription in the previous 12 months, down from 25% in 2021. 

Figure 11. Users who subscribed to a new service in the past 12 months declined by 5pp. More than 2 in 5 did not cancel or subscribe to a new service in the last year.

Conversely, cancellation rates in the previous 12 months have increased from 15% in 2021 to 20%. The key driver for cancelling remains the lack of usage, however 2022 seems to indicate a more cost centric subscriber with cancellations driven by cost rising from 12% in 2021 jumping to 22% in 2022.

Figure 12. Most common reason for cancelling a service continues to be lack of use, however subscription costs being a reason has increased this year.

However, the re-subscription rate has increased marginally to 12% from 11% in 2021. Resubscribing seems to be primarily driven by content, with 32% resubscribing for a new season of a favourite show being released and 25% for content which moved to this service.

Figure 13. Watching a new season of a favourite show is the main reason for resubscribing to a video streaming service for 32%. More than 1 in 5 have resubscribed in order to watch content that has moved to the service or because they got a free or discounted rate.

Is the streaming landscape changing?

There has been much coverage around Netflix’s plans to restrict account sharing and looking at their subscription model by adding ads to lower the monthly fee. 42% of respondents would be interested in ad based subscriptions, either with advertising covering half or all of the subscription costs. When it comes to sharing subscriptions outside of the household, those aged 18-24 years are most likely to do this with 53% doing so. Overall however 35% of respondents shared their account with someone else outside of the household.

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