Media Habits of Gen Y & Z in Singapore

By Piers Lee

BVA BDRC recently partnered with the School of Management & Communication at the Republic Polytechnic in Singapore to undertake extensive research to assess the media habits & preferences of Gen Z & Y consumers. From November 2018 to January 2019, we undertook five focus groups (with a diary survey) and 346 quantitative surveys, to assess viewing habits, devices used, the role of TV today, genre preferences, attitudes to advertising, and video gaming behaviour.  We report some of the key findings in our “Talking to Generations” Series…  

Part 1: Media Habits of Gen Y & Z in Singapore

Media consumption is growing by virtue of more access to media, e.g. through mobile devices, and more choices through a multitude of free and subscription-based services.

Nearly all households in Singapore have access to media via mobiles (99%), and media can also be accessed via PCs in the home (90%) and tablets (60%). 95% of households have TV, usually one or two sets in the home.  TV is still the most common way of accessing media, but the frequency is declining.  Based on the 7 day diary study, only 23% of Singaporean younger consumers had used the TV to view media that week, whereas 70% had used their smartphone and 40% their laptop.

As a family activity,  TV viewership is declining with a net 33% of families saying they are watching less TV together compared to 2 years ago.

The preference for media consumption through mobile is changing habits.  While consumers still like the big screen and cinema going is stable, it is the ease and convenience with which consumers can access media through mobiles that is driving preference for consumption through this platform.

Streaming services and free content, e.g. YouTube facilitates viewership through these devices, but consumers are making media consumption a more individual activity.  In fact at home, 73% of viewing occasions were watching on one's own and only 27% with others.  This also extends outside of the home where 41% watch content while commuting, and 27% at work or school. This habit also changes demand for content.  Media consumption now fills shorter windows, that could be just filling in time such as commuting, or consumers just grabbing viewing time here-and-there.

In a typical week, consumers access media content of 10 minutes or less 12.7 times a week, whereas watching uninterrupted for 1 hour or more was only 8.3 times a week.  Males have ‘shorter attention spans’ watching 1 hour+ content without interruption 7.8 times a week compared to 8.7 times for females.

Gen Y also have shorter viewing spans, watching 1 hour+ content 6.8 times a week, compared to 8.9 for Gen Z.  Their more busy lifestyles perhaps restricts them in their viewing, but they still want media, and therefore take it in short bursts and more frequently – 10 minutes of less content 14.0 times a week compared to 12.1 for Gen Z.

Over the 7 day diary survey period, only 14% of all viewing occasions were people watching films compared to 36% for short clips.  Drama accounted for 25% of viewing occasions and documentaries only 8%.

With far fewer viewing occasions involving groups of friends and family, and demand for much shorter content, producers will need to turn more to TV series or short films in bite sized pieces to serve an increasingly fragmented market and impatient viewers.  This will mean more choice, genre, ease of access, creativity, and most of all more consumer insight.

We'll be revealing more from the Talking to Generations series in the coming weeks. To find out more contact Piers Lee.

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