Global consumer spending on media content and technology grew an estimated 6.1% to $2.012 trillion in 2020, driven by the COVID-19 lockdown that kept consumers at home binging on multiple forms of digital entertainment as relief from the pandemic, according to new research from PQ Media®.
The gain was a sharp acceleration from the 3.8% growth in 2019, signaling the fastest expansion in both global and US consumer media & tech spending in five years, fueled by surging expenditures on streaming audio and video subscription services, and digital and console-based videogame software and hardware, according to PQ Media’s Global Consumer Spending on Media Forecast 2020-2024.
If not for traditional film & home video spending plummeting after movie theaters were shuttered worldwide, consumer media spending growth would have been the strongest in 10 years worldwide, while US media spending growth would have been the fastest since 1996. Consumer media spending growth is projected to slow in 2021, but only slightly to 6.0%, as many consumers remain at home working, children continue schooling virtually, more fiscal stimulus is distributed, and moviegoers begin returning to theaters later in the year.
“Nevertheless, PQ Media expects the growth of consumer spending on media content and technology will begin to decelerate markedly in 2022 and 2023, as many of the pandemic-driven forces that sparked the atypical end-user spending splurge in 2020 begin to fade in the second half of 2021, as the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out worldwide, adult workers begin returning to office buildings and children start repopulating physical schools,” said PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn.
Overall digital media content devices was the largest of the nine major digital and traditional media platform categories in 2020, generating $440.5 billion, while digital content subscriptions was the fastest growing, up 20.7%. The shift to digital media content and technology is clearly evident in the 12-point shift in market share to digital from traditional media in the 2014-2020 period, as the digital segment now commands 71.1% of all consumer media outlays, according to the Global Consumer Spending on Media Forecast 2020-2024.
Consumer spending on all media content & tech worldwide averaged $352.96 per capita in 2020, up 5.3% from 2019, driven by strong growth in digital media streaming services. Of the 28 digital media categories, the fastest growing in 2020 was digital audio subscription services, which rocketed 40.0% to $30.98 billion worldwide.
Of the 14 traditional media & tech categories, cable TV subscriptions remained the largest at $220.6 billion, followed by print books & directories, and newspaper & magazine subscriptions. Print books & directories was the fastest growing traditional media spending category, up 7.8%, as 10 of the 14 traditional categories grew in 2020, including pay-per-view and TV sets.