Sitting in front of the TV is becoming less of a habit for Americans as more than one-third prefers to view their programs on a mobile device.
Deloitte's eighth edition of its "Digital Democracy Survey" found that 37 percent of U.S. consumers are now what the firm calls digital omnivores, basically willing to absorb their content on any viewing platform. This represents a 42 percent growth compared to the previous survey. It is also leading to more multitasking and a growing importance in how social media is impacting the population.
The increase was driven by further tablet adoption, a 33 percent increase and the continuing penetration of smartphones of up 18 percent into the American landscape. Women are also joining this trend in growing numbers. Now about 45 percent of mobile viewers are female, up from 35 percent last year.
"The continued rise of the digital omnivore is an indication that consumers, across generations, are hungry for content across devices, especially media and gaming content on mobile devices," said Gerald Belson, vice chairman, Deloitte and U.S. Media & Entertainment sector leader. "Consumers are often now able to watch the content they want on the device of their choosing. As an example, they have decoupled the notion that TV shows have to be watched on home TVs. This trend is particularly evident in trailing millennials (aged 14 to 24), who indicated they now spend more time watching television and movie content on non-traditional devices than on TVs."
The survey also found that almost twice as many Americans are now streaming video, 32 percent compared to 17 percent last year. One trend that is not changing is that consumers prefer to rent instead of purchase digital media. In fact, more renting is now taking place, with Deloitte saying the ratio of renting to buying is 3 to 1, up from 2 to 1 last year.
The diminishing impact of the television in the home can also be seen in the amount of multitasking that takes place in front of the TV, particularly among Millennials. This portion of the population is normally conducting four different tasks while supposedly watching TV. Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are far behind, generally contenting themselves with just one extra task during TV time.
The survey also checked in on American's social media habits. It found that 54 percent are checking a site at least once per day and some as many as 10 times.
"Social media's impact on consumers' buying decisions is also profound. Online reviews or recommendations from someone within an individual's social media circles are especially impactful, even when the reviewer has no relationship to the consumer. Among U.S. consumers, the majority (68 percent) say that online reviews or recommendations from someone within their social media circles have a high or medium level of influence over buying decisions. Online reviews by strangers are also gaining credibility with 60 percent of consumers reporting online reviews by someone they do not know having a high to medium influence over their buying decisions," the report stated.
The Deloitte project interviewed more than 2,000 Americans 14 years and older.