This week, we're looking at digital video viewers. Each day, we'll feature a different demographic to better understand how various age groups engage with video. So far, we’ve looked at kids and teens, millennials and Gen Xers. Last up: baby boomers.
The number of boomers watching digital video on a monthly basis might not be as high as younger generations, but the 37.7 million who will do so this year are more likely to use computers and streaming services than their smartphones.
eMarketer estimates that 51.5% of baby boomers in the US will watch digital video at least once per month in 2018. Though digital video viewers will shrink to 36.8 million by 2022 as the generation itself gets smaller, we expect digital video viewers will make make up 52.4% of the boomer population in the same year.
When boomers want to watch digital video, computers are more predominantly used than smartphones. In a November 2017 AARP survey, 52% of respondents ages 50 to 59 and 48% of those ages 60 to 69 said they use desktops or laptops to watch videos or shows. In comparison, only 25% of internet users ages 55 to 64 said they used smartphones to watch TV or video, according to an October 2017 survey from Morning Consult.
In the June report, Younger Baby Boomers as Digital Users, eMarketer senior analyst Mark Dolliver explains that “for teens and millennials, a phone is as much a device for viewing video as for making calls. [But] for younger boomers, using the phone as a TV or movie screen does not come naturally.”
Of boomers who do engage with digital video, 47% of those ages 55 to 64 said that they—or someone in their household—currently subscribes to any streaming service, according to a November 2018 survey from Morning Consult. By comparison, almost 65% of respondents aged 45 and younger said the same.
Unlike younger generations, baby boomers are spending their time viewing traditional TV. eMarketer estimates that this year, boomers will spend more than 5 hours a day watching traditional TV. That figure is more than double the estimated figure for millennials' TV consumption.