Roku: Americans Spend More Time Streaming Video Than Watching Pay-TV

New data from a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults in the COVID-19 era conducted by Roku and The Harris Poll found that 85% of respondents stream video and prefer over-the-top video over pay-television.

Average reported streaming hours increased 19% year over year while average traditional TV viewing hours decreased 13%, according to the survey results.

“These fundamental changes highlight that now is the time for marketers to consider significant realignments of their advertising investments in order to reach consumers this holiday season and beyond,” Matthew Anderson, chief marketing officer at Roku, said in a statement.

Roku is the co-creator of the SVOD market, with Netflix.

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The survey was conducted in part to determine respondents’ attitudes toward gift giving during a pandemic, how they will shop compared to previous holiday seasons, and how their adoption of TV streaming is affecting purchasing decisions.

“How consumers are making their buying decisions and executing actual purchases are undergoing important changes,” Anderson said.

Survey highlights found that Americans are evenly split on their views about the future of the economy, with 70% planning to spend the same or more on gifts this year. Overall, consumers expect to spend a total of $885 dollars on average this year on holiday purchases, up approximately 2.5% from last year’s survey.

Nearly one-third of shoppers (31%) report that they plan to buy more gifts for more people this year because of sheltering in place rules that will bar them from visiting with family and friends.

Nearly one-third (31%) plan to buy a gift to support working from home for either themselves or someone else. Furthermore, as more families spend time at home streaming, many shoppers also report planning to pick up a new television this year with smart TVs topping the gift giving (and getting) list of many shoppers. In fact, 41% of Americans surveyed say they plan to buy a new TV.

With COVID-19 fueling concerns about in-person shopping, consumers now expect to do nearly two-thirds (65%) of their holiday shopping virtually. Streamers are fueling this surge in online shopping: 79% will do most of their holiday shopping online compared to 55% of non-streamers who plan to conduct most of their shopping digitally.

“Despite all of the uncertainty we see in the world today, this report highlights the fact that consumers plan to shop significantly this holiday season,” Anderson said.

The findings provide a clear blueprint for marketers seeking to engage shoppers during what will be a season of TV streaming. Most shoppers are now primary streamers with nearly one in three having already cut the cord according to Roku’s 2020 Cord Cutting survey.

According to the survey results, 2020 truly kicked off the decade of streaming in the U.S., with more than eight in 10 Americans reporting they are streamers. Not surprisingly, 96% of millennials, as well as 72% of Baby Boomers, cited themselves as streamers in this year’s report.

Not only are Americans streaming, they are also consuming a significant amount of advertising-supported streaming content that is reshaping how brands should think about the traditional TV advertising path to purchase.

Roku is a major distributor of ad-supported VOD programming through The Roku Channel.

Indeed, Roku claims 43% of consumers (and 66% of millennials) surveyed reported having seen an ad on a streaming service that caused them to pause the content, go online and shop for the product they encountered.

“We have arrived at a tipping point for the future of TV as we know it where a future involving 50% or fewer households subscribing to traditional pay-TV is now realistic in the short-term,” said Abbey Lunney, director of trends and thought leadership at The Harris Poll. “This shift to streaming, in combination with other consumer insights into the new path to purchase, demonstrate how marketers need to adjust their engagement strategies, not just for the 2020 holiday season, but for the future long term.”

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