Time Spent with Media in China Grows amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Over the course of just a few months, the coronavirus has changed how consumers in China digest media, according to eMarketer. As adults are taking additional precautions and continuing to stay home, they are spending more time with both digital media and TV.
eMarketer increased their projections for time spent with digital in China but lowered those figures for print. In total, adults will spend 6 hours, 58 minutes (6:58) per day consuming media, a 4-minute increase from our March 2019 forecast. 2:45 of that time will come from traditional media (TV, print, radio), and the remainder will come from digital.
“Because people in China have been staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect increases in time spent with TV and digital media in 2020, as people seek out news and entertainment; but the impacts don’t stop there,” eMarketer forecasting analyst Brian Lau said. “Quarantines have pushed adults to spend even more time on internet-connected activities and has accelerated the shift toward digital. We expect this behavior to continue well after the pandemic.”
eMarketer increased estimates for adults’ average time spent watching TV in China to 2:30 in 2020, up from 2:25 expected in our March 2019 forecast. Although time spent with TV will grow by 1.3% in 2020, it will once again decline in 2021, by 3.0%, as routines return to normal.
The TV time will more than offset the decreases in time spent on newspapers and magazines, putting traditional media time in positive growth territory in 2020 after at least five years of declines. However, this trend is not expected to last. Adults in China will continue to spend less time reading. We will see a 9.1% decrease in time spent with newspapers and an 8.3% decrease for magazines.
In China, digital accounts for most of adults’ time with major media. They will spend 4:13 with the medium in 2020. Mobile internet usage will continue experiencing double-digit growth in 2021 (13.2%), reaching 3:22. After this year, growth in usage will return to a trajectory closer to what eMarketer estimated before the impacts of COVID-19. However, it will grow from a higher base.
Meanwhile, time spent watching digital video will also increase as people watch movies and TV shows while social distancing. Time spent with digital video among the population will grow by 16.5% in 2020, up from a previously estimated 13.7%. This year, adults in China will spend an average of 1:24 each day watching digital video.