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30-second summary:

  • A new series of data visualizations demonstrate how content consuming behavior has increased during the pandemic shutdown, in the U.S. and the U.K.
  • Based on a survey of thousands of Net users, the visualizations are oriented around age groups.
  • Some of the new trends may continue after normal life returns, such as an increased interest in online videos — and in reading books.

Some consumer surveys, like a recently-released one from Unruly, have backed up anecdotal observations with data about increased use of devices and online services during this pandemic shutdown. Now, a series of visually-impressive graphs from online publication Visual Capitalist – “Media Consumption in the Age of COVID-19” – highlights the actual media consumption data by various age groups.

Visual Capitalist specializes in providing data visualizations for investors. The charts are based on a Global Web Index (GWI) survey of nearly 4000 Net users, aged 16 to 64, in the U.S. and U.K.

Media consumption in the age of COVID-19

In general, over 80 percent of U.S.- and U.K.-based consumers say they now consume more content since the pandemic began.

Among Gen Z (16 to 23 years old), 51 percent said they have started consuming, or are consuming more, of online videos, along with online TV/streaming (38 percent) and video games (31 percent).

Among Millennials, aged 24 to 37 years, the biggest bumps include online videos (44 percent), video games (31 percent), online press (36 percent), broadcast TV (35 percent) and online TV/streaming (41 percent).

Media Consumption in the Age of COVID-19

Gen X (38-56 years) showed a 38 percent boost in radio consumption, while Boomers (57-64 years) had the biggest increase in broadcast TV. Visual Capitalist noted that Boomers’ media consumption habits appears to have changed the least because of the pandemic.

Media consumption trends

Media consumption

The underlying GWI survey itself finds several broad trends. The online activities that are seeing the biggest boost across age groups are: looking for coronavirus updates, utilizing social media to keep in touch with friends and share opinions, and watching video.

GWI suggests that several trends might have staying power after the pandemic is over. These include the increased popularity of online video watching and video gaming, and, interestingly, a continued interest in reading.

More than 70 percent of book readers “intend to keep reading just as much when the crisis ends,” GWI says, adding that this expected post-pandemic boost is “higher than all other forms of media.”

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