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Living Room Entertainment

Digital Consumer Trends 2020

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  • TV remains the most popular method for watching streamed films and TV series, watching live TV and using catch-up services
  • Younger consumers more willing to pay full subscription fees to avoid ads
  • 9% rise in smart TV ownership
  • Netflix remains the most popular subscription service.


Participants in the survey were asked to indicate their preferred device for a number of activities. For watching live TV, streaming films and TV series and watching TV programmes via catch-up services, TV was the preferred device across all age categories. Mobile phones were the preferred device for reading the news, also across all age groups.

When it came to watching short videos, mobile phones were the preferred device across all age groups except 55-64s, who preferred laptops, and over-65s, who preferred tablets. For playing games, all age groups preferred to use a mobile phone except for 18-24s, who preferred to use a gaming console, and over-65s, who preferred to use a tablet.

The survey also found that the use of smartphones for watching video was significantly higher among the 18-24 age group. 36% of all participants said that they use their mobile phone to watch short videos, live posts and stories; this rose to 63% for 18-24s. 32% of all participants said they use their mobile phone to watch videos shared on instant messaging networks, rising to 46% for 18-24s; 21% of all participants use their mobile phone to watch live streams, rising to 48% for 18-24s; 17% of all participants use their mobile phone to stream films or TV series, rising to 37% for 18-24s.

Participants in the survey were also asked what connected devices they own or have access to. 58% of Irish consumers have a smart TV, up 9% since 2019. 34% have a games console (down by 1%); 33% have a video streaming device that connects to their television (no change since 2019); 28% have wireless speakers (up 3%); 22% have a set-top box or video recorder that is internet-connected (down 3%). Voice-assisted speakers saw the biggest increase, up 10% year-on-year to 22%.


Globally TV shipments hit a record high in Q3 2020 at 62.05m units, up 31% year-on-year, which was also up 39% on the previous quarter. Shipments were highest in North America, up 20%. The surge in shipments was partly the result of delayed shipments in Q2 of the prior quarter. Samsung, the market leader (33.1% revenue share, 23.6% shipments share), delivered 14.9m TVs in Q3 2020 and expected to ship 48.8m units in 2020, its highest volume since 2014.

In 2021, TV shipments are forecast at 218m units by Omdia, up 7.1% YoY versus 203m units in 2020. We note that one other research house, TrendForce, is more bullish about 2021, forecasting 223m units for the year.

Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2021 predicts 8K will have its first million unit year, generating $2.5bn globally, with an ASP seven times greater than that for all TVs. The 8K standard is not just higher resolutions, but also higher frame rates, greater brightness and a greater colour range.


The rise of video on demand (“VOD”)?

Access to subscription VOD services has increased marginally from 59% to 63% of consumers. However access has increased significantly in the over 65 age group since 2019, increasing from 27% to 43% in the year. In addition to the over-65s, the 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 age categories also saw increases while the 18-24 (down 2%) and 55-64 (down 6%) age categories saw small decreases in the numbers subscribing to VOD services.

Netflix remained the most popular VOD subscription service with 56% of respondents having a Netflix subscription, up 2% on 2019, while Prime Video saw the biggest year-on-year increase with 18% (up 9%). These were followed in popularity by Disney+, which was launched in 2020, at 19% and Now TV at 8% (up 3%).

While the quality of content on these platforms has increased over the years, given that the survey was conducted in May – June 2020 during and post the first lockdown it would appear to have drawn in more subscribers.

46% of participants had access to a music streaming service, up 4% on 2019. Spotify was the most popular music streaming service at 33%, up 2% on 2019. This was followed by Amazon Music at 9% (up 4%) and Apple Music at 8% (up 1%).

30% had access to a newspaper or magazine subscription, a decrease of 2% year-on-year.

Over the same period there was a marginal decline in consumers who had access to set-top boxes decreasing from 25% to 22%.

Participants were asked to consider whether they would be happy to pay half price for a VOD subscription service if that meant they would have to watch some ads. A third (33%) said that they would prefer to pay the full subscription fee and not have to watch ads. 28% reported that they would be happy to watch some ads if they could get a subscription for half price.

Younger respondents were notably less tolerant of ads, with 47% of 18-24s and 48% of 25-34s preferring to pay full price for no ads.

Gaming surge

The games sector saw a surge in growth in 2020, and may well see strong demand for a new generation of consoles in 2021. If families are unable to go on holiday, they may decide to invest instead in upgrading their home entertainment. Every console generation lasts about seven years, and the latest upgrades have the potential to generate hundreds of Euros of software and network revenue annually for each user.

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