Netflix Use Further Distanced YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ in 2020

Longtime online video champion YouTube saw usage dip behind Netflix in 2019 for the first time. The gap between the SVOD behemoth and Google-owned video platform expanded in 2020, according to new data from eMarketer. The average time spent daily on Netflix in the U.S. increased to 31 minutes, compared with 27 minutes on YouTube — up from 26 minutes and 25 minutes, respectively in 2019.

While daily use among Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ increased as well, they all lagged significantly behind perennial leader Netflix.

Amid the pandemic, U.S. adults spent 1 hour more per day on digital activities (across all devices) than they did in 2019, according to eMarketer. Total digital time is now on track to surpass 8 hours daily by the end of 2022.

Separate data from J.D. Power found that the average U.S. home increased the number of SVOD subscriptions to four from three in early 2020 — upping monthly spending to $47 from $38 in 2019.

In 2020, U.S. adults spent 7 hours, 50 minutes (7:50) per day consuming digital media, up 15% from 6:49 in 2019, the biggest increase since 2012. It’s also considerably higher than eMarketer’s Q1 2020 projection (7:31).

Digital time accounted for 57.5% of adults’ daily media time in 2020, and that figure will reach 60.2% by 2022.

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“Connected TVs and video game consoles are the main beneficiaries of the cord-cutting trend due to increases in the number of subscription OTT and ad-free VOD users and content offerings,” forecasting analyst Zach Goldner said in a statement.

  • Social Network Time: 1:05, up from 56 minutes in 2019
  • Digital Video Time: 2:13, up from 1:46 in 2019


“As normalcy returns in 2021, overall digital consumption will hold all of last year’s gains,” Goldner said. “Desktop/laptop time will return to negative growth this year, but smartphone time will more than make up the difference.”

Smartphones are driving a significant portion of adults’ total digital time. In fact, smartphone time surpassed 3 hours for the first time in 2020 (3:13), up from 2:45 in 2019.

Looking ahead, growth in digital time will continue, albeit at much smaller rates. U.S. adults’ daily digital time will gain another 7 minutes in 2021 to 7:57. It will then surpass 8 hours (8:02) in 2022 for the first time.