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How the Pandemic Changed Media Consumption



Our habits changed during the pandemic. Here’s how we see them changing for good.
The pandemic affected many aspects of our lives, especially the media habits of consumers. When the world was put on pause, the result was a heightened demand for diversion and entertainment. 
Netflix, the world’s most popular video streaming service, added 37 million subscribers in 2020 alone, a 31% annual increase over 2019.
There’s no doubt that quarantining at home and social distancing resulted in a huge uptick in our media consumption, but the pandemic also shaped our habits in other ways.  
Here’s a snapshot of how media consumption was affected by COVID-19 from April to December 2020:
1. Gen Z reported an increase in digital media consumption in April 2020, thanks to the popularity of online videos on TikTok and YouTube, video games, and online TV and streaming films. These categories became even more popular by December 2020. Breakout categories showing growth for this group: video games and podcasts.

 2. Millennials reduced their consumption of media by year’s end in 2020, although as a group they tend to consume a wider range of media types than Gen Z. Breakout categories for Millennials? Books and podcasts. 
 3. Gen X tended to watch broadcast TV, online TV and streaming films, and more videos than their older counterparts, Baby Boomers.
 4. Baby Boomers changed their media consumption habits the least—most often reaching for the remote to watch broadcast TV, followed by online video.
 5. Some segments of each of the generational groups opted to drop out of digital consumption by December 2020, when businesses were opening back up. Up to 20.3 percent of Millennials said “None” in December 2020 compared to 9.1 percent in April 2020. For Gen X, the percentage of respondents reporting “None” rose to 28.9 percent.  
As of April 2021, more than half of Americans were subscribing to video, music, and paid TV services:

While Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers said watching TV or movies were top activities, Gen Z enjoys playing video games, streaming music, and engaging on social media simultaneously. Because of this, Gen Z could be a source of disruption to the video-first trends.
Want to learn more about how media consumption patterns across generations continue to change and shift? We can help you leverage the latest insights for your brand or company’s marketing strategies. Reach out to us today.