Ownership of PCs and tablets continues to fall in most countries, while Smart TVs are gaining ground as high-quality in-home viewing becomes a must-have.
That’s the top level finding from eMarketer’s “The Global Media Intelligence Report,” compiled by Insider Intelligence, Publicis and GWI from analysis of 100,000 consumers in 43 markets during the first half of this year.
In all but a handful of countries, smart TV ownership rose by several percentage points YoY. In many cases, that lifted penetration above 50% for the first time. Japan was the most striking outlier; just 9% of internet users there owned a smart TV this year. But that share had grown from 7.5% in 2020 — a significant proportional increase.
The pandemic has undoubtedly played a role, as TV still reaches more consumers worldwide than any other content-based medium. Yet the share of internet users watching digital video now surpasses the share watching live TV in many parts of the world.
It’s worth noting that GWI included YouTube in its list of tracked video services for the first time this year, and the popularity of that platform will have boosted figures for digital video viewing in virtually all nations surveyed.
READ MORE: The Global Media Intelligence Report 2021 (eMarketer)
More interesting, in some respects, are the substantial increases in penetration of SVOD worldwide. This is largely predictable, given that lockdowns fueled digital video viewing across the board. SVOD usage was already rising in most countries in 2020 but enjoyed another big boost in 2021 — as if many internet users who resisted the appeal of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other providers last year finally gave in to temptation as the pandemic continued.
The penetration of desktops, laptops, and tablets has dropped virtually everywhere, per the report. While several countries in Asia-Pacific — including China and Japan — saw modest gains for both devices and PC ownership also rose in India, UAE, and Vietnam, “these are all countries where PCs and tablets entered the mainstream after mobile phones, and remain aspirational, particularly in middle and higher-income households,” writes report editor Karin von Abrams.
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Rates of smartphone ownership were much the same as in 2020 and almost uniformly high.
Broadcast radio has held up surprisingly well with time spent tuned in largely unchanged since 2020 despite digital audio alternatives. However, fewer internet users listened to online radio, audiobooks, and other digital audio content.
This decline may be partly due to GWI removing Google Play Music from the list of audio services tracked because the service was discontinued. Yet music streaming occupied more time this year in almost every country. In addition, internet users in most nations devoted at least 30 minutes each day to podcasts—a new metric in the 2021 survey.
Aaron Goldman, chief marketer at Mediaocean, said: “It all adds up to a landscape that isn’t just shifting from one channel to another, but massively diversifying. This year we’ve also heard a lot of chat about what could turn out to be the seeds of the next wave after ‘smart tech,’ with conversation stirring about the metaverse. [This report] shows that marketers will always need to take an omnichannel approach. The challenge will be to manage and measure that work everywhere from good old paper to the science fiction virtual spaces of the future.”