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One Chart That Shows How Coronavirus Has Already Impacted Gen Z & Millennials’ Media Use

What platforms, sites, and streamers are young consumers turning to during the Coronavirus crisis? We looked at YPulse’s Pro data on media use to see exactly who has seen increases…

According to YPulse’s early research on COVID-19’s impact on young consumers, 69% of Gen Z & Millennials say their life has been affected by Coronavirus in some way. Last week, 33% of the 13-39-year-olds who have felt impacted by the Coronavirus crisis said they were spending more free time at home. Roughly one in five students told us they had stopped attending school. (Stay tuned for more exclusive data on Coronavirus’s impact on young consumers tomorrow, and watch for YPulse’s special report on the crisis, coming in April.) Self-quarantines, and mandated shelter-in-place rules, are becoming more common. The increased time at home is forcing isolated young consumers to find new (mostly) digital solutions to problems caused by isolation—a reality that is swiftly boosting some apps’ popularity. It’s also seriously changing their media consumption.

Nielsen believes that video streaming may rise by 60%, based on what has happened during previous crises. According to Adweek, Reddit is seeing a huge surge in traffic during Coronavirus. Many are turning to the popular community as they stay indoors and go online more, and the site says they’ve seen a 20 to 50% increase to certain subreddits as well as a 20% increase in their chat platform. Verizon is reporting a 75% week over week gaming increase, and Steam reported a record 20 million people logged into their streaming platform at the same time. The Coronavirus crisis is clearly impacting young consumers’ media behavior—and how much content they’re watching.

To see exactly what platforms they’re turning to more during this time, we turned to our own data on Gen Z and Millennials. The YPulse brand tracker, available to Pro subscribers, collects 100,000 interviews with 13-39-year-olds annually, tracking over 400 brands across 16 distinct diagnostics. It also tracks their media use, asking Gen Z and Millennials what media they’ve used in the past week (from Netflix to radio), every week. We’ve compared a week of “pre-Coronavirus” media use (the week of January 6th) to their media use last week, “post-Coronavirus”—here’s what we found:

Among 13-39-year-olds, media use has increased across many streamers, with YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ all seeing spikes. YouTube has seen one of the larger increases in use among 13-39-year-olds, a 12% increase. Globally, YouTube’s digital viewership has grown an “astronomical” amount during the Coronavirus crisis. According to Kidscreen, as movie theaters shut down worldwide and people find themselves stuck indoors amid a pandemic, families are hunting for online video content to keep their children (and themselves) entertained. Insights platform Aux Mode reports that views on YouTube jumped 50% in January and jumped another 50% in February—growth “like nothing [they’ve] ever seen before.” We’re clearly seeing a similar impact beginning here in the U.S. for young consumers. YPulse’s Growing Up YouTube trend research found that 55% of 13-to-18-year-olds were already watching YouTube more than once a day before the crisis began—with the increased time at home, they’re turning to the familiar.

We should also note that Disney+ has seen even larger increases among 13-24-year-olds, with 31% reporting they had used in in the pre-Coronavirus week and 39% using the platform in the post-Coronavirus week (a nearly 26% increase). Again, the familiar is winning out here, albeit a slightly different version: we can surmise that the shows and movies that this generation grew up on, and live on Disney+, are providing comfort.

But one of the most significant increases in media use for Gen Z and Millennials is in music streaming, which has seen a 23% percent increase between pre and post-Coronavirus weeks. Music is clearly become a comfort and a connector: Business Insider even reports that quarantine themes playlists are becoming more common on Spotify.