Teens’ Video Preferences Continue to Evolve

October 28, 2019

For the past few years, US teens have spent the largest portion of their video viewing time with Netflix. But that preference has now changed, as the latest semi-annual teen survey from Piper Jaffray reveals that YouTube has surpassed Netflix to become the video platform where teens spend the most time on a daily basis.

The survey of 9,500 US teens, with an average age of 15.8 years old, found that they estimated spending 37% share of their daily video consumption on YouTube, edging Netflix, which accounted for an estimated 35% share. This is is a reversal of Piper Jaffray’s survey from the same time last year, when 38% share of daily video consumption by US teens was on Netflix and 33% share was on YouTube.

Netflix’s loss in viewing time among teens reflects other research, indicating that not only is the growth in the number of US Netflix subscribers numbers slowing down and looking as if it may level off, but also that the streaming media leader also saw a decline in the percentage share of US adults that default to it as a source for watching TV.

In the meantime, the amount of time teens spend watching cable TV continues to decrease at a rapid rate, dropping to 12% share of their total video viewing time in Fall 2019, down from 19% share from a year earlier. This represents a fast-moving trend, as in Fall 2015, cable still commanded the second-highest share of teen video viewing time, at 29%.

Instagram Tops Snapchat in Engagement

Past research has shown that almost twice as many teens prefer Snapchat to Instagram. However, Piper Jaffray’s Spring 2019 survey of teens found that although Snapchat remained the favorite social media platform for US teens, it was decreasing in favor as Instagram gained in share. While it’s unclear if Snapchat remains the favorite six-months later, Instagram can boast higher engagement than Snapchat.

A full 85% of the teens surveyed said they use Instagram, while 81% reported using Snapchat. These two platforms enjoy more than twice as much adoption as Twitter (40%). And, while a majority of US adults are using still using Facebook, usage among teens here was at 31%.

More Survey Highlights

The Fall 2019 survey also revealed that teens self-reported spending 4% less year-over-year, dipping to $2,400 per annum. According to the report, this is the lowest teen spending has been since Fall 2011. Here are some other highlights from the survey:

  • More than half (52%) of teens rank Amazon as their top online shopping destination. This is compared to Nike at #2 with 4%.
  • Move over gaming Millennials, 9% of teens’ wallet share goes toward video games, up from 8% a year ago.
  • For male teens, Food (23%) is the top spending category while female teens spend the largest share of wallet (27%) on Clothing.
  • Following other data that says kids are influenced more by online influencers than family members, an overwhelming majority (89%) of female teens use online influencers as a source of discovery for Beauty brands and trends.
  • Good news for Apple as an all-time high 86% of teens say they expect an iPhone to be their next phone.

The full report can be requested here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 9,500 teens with an average age of 15.8 years old from 42 US states. The average household income was $65,400.

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