How did you spend your free time, or rather forcibly freed from the Covid-19 pandemic? Those hours you usually spend playing sports or aperitifs, shopping, going to the cinema or all the other activities that once filled our days? The answer to this question could be summarized in four words: in front of a screen.
Whether it’s that of television, computer or smartphone, to watch movies, play video games or get information. It doesn’t matter: the red thread that has linked Western humanity in these very difficult months has been the possibility (to which we will never be grateful enough ) to exploit the internet to fill the void created by the coronavirus. If, among the offline activities, the disappearance of yeast from the supermarket shelves has given us an indication of how many people have improvised bakers and pastry chefs, among those offline the situation is much more varied.
To compile the final report of the Global Web Index (all infographics are the Visual Capitalist ) was interviewed a sample of 4 thousand Internet users between the US and the UK, with the aim of understanding how they digitally spent their time people in quarantine, also uncovering the many generational differences. Before continuing, it may be useful to recap who is part of which generation: Generation Z is represented by the very young, aged 16 to 23. The Millennial instead should be between 24 and 37 years. Generation X goes from 38 to 56 years, while the Boomer range from 57 to 64 (actually it extends beyond, but over 64s were not consulted for this study).
Generation Z and Millennials: between Netflix and TikTok
So what are the media activities that have grown the most depending on the generation? For the very young of Generation Z, there is an activity that stands out more than any other. Watching online videos on YouTube and TikTok. As many as 51% say they have increased their consumption, while 38% have used streaming services like Netflix more. 31%, on the other hand, increased the time spent watching video games and 28% listened to more music. More modest was the growth in business considered serious: 21% increased time spent on online newspapers, 18% read more books and there is also 9% who, surprisingly, increased the consumption of newspapers and paper weekly magazines.
The situation doesn’t change much for millennials. Also in their case, the most significant increases concern online videos (+ 44%), streaming services of films and TV series (+ 41%), and music (+ 35%). The difference with the younger ones lies first of all in the increased consumption of live streams that have flooded social networks (+ 30%) – and which seem to have been quite snubbed by other generations (+17 among Gen Z) – as well as in the consumption of online information (+ 36%) and paper (+ 19%). Podcasts (+ 20%) and radio (+ 26%) are not doing bad either. Another important difference between Gen Z and Millennials is in the relationship with traditional television, whose consumption has increased by 35% of former young Millennials and only 24% among Gen Z.
Generation X and boomers: the world is still analog
And how are things in Generation X? That this is a generation less linked to the online world is the first thing you notice: the consumption of television has increased more than that of services at Netflix (45% against 38%). Just as the time spent listening to the radio has grown by more than that spent in the company of Spotify and the others (38% against 27%). Similarly, the fact that the consumption of print newspapers has increased less than in the younger generations (7%, against 9% of Gen Z and 19% of Millennials) tells us one thing above all: Generation X is still newsstand and newspapers bought them before. This is also a generation where the consumption of books during the pandemic increased more video games (21% versus 19%). Judging from these data, we can safely abandon ok, boomer, and adopt ok, exponent of Generation X (too bad it doesn’t sound as good).
Speaking of boomers, how are mom and dad doing? In general, media life doesn’t seem to have changed that much for them. The peaks are in fact much lower and reach a significant level in a single category: television consumption (+ 42%). The boomers are also the only generation in which the category ” none of these categories ” ranks second. (+ 24%), which indicates that our parents have probably spent their time immersed in non-media activities. Some timid increases can be seen in the consumption of Netflix. And other streaming services (+ 21%), radio (+ 15%), and online information (+ 15%). Overall, however, it seems that those in the 57-64 age group have spent their time in front of the TV. Happy them.
Online subscriptions: luckily there are young people
All this, from an economic point of view, above all tells us one thing: where the pandemic has brought most of the commercial activities to their knees, there are some services that in this forced quarantine have found important opportunities, in particular streaming services. for a fee (video and music) and to a lesser extent subscription to online newspapers. 30% of Generation Z members who did not have a Netflix subscription are now willing to do so, compared to 26% of Millennials.
On the other hand, Millennials are the most likely to subscribe to Spotify (19% of those who did not already have it, against 13% of the very young) and also those who are most considering subscribing to an online newspaper such as the New York Times (15%) or the Economist (13%). In short, for the entertainment giants, this pandemic could be a goose that lays the golden eggs. But good news seems to be coming also for the information sector. And the other generations? They don’t seem willing to change much: 66% of Generation X says he is not interested in subscribing to any of the services on the list. A percentage that reaches as much as 80% among the boomers. There are no more old people than once.