October 16, 2019

Poll: Teens Favor YouTube Videos Over Netflix

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.

Netflix continues to get battered on the news front, with a popular survey of American teens’ spending habits revealing last week that the streaming service has been uprooted by YouTube as teens’ most-used platform for watching videos.

The Taking Stock With Teens poll, which is conducted twice a year by investment banker Piper Jaffray, found that 37% of teens favored watching video on YouTube, compared to 35% of the respondents from Generation Z preferring Netflix.

Until the most recent poll, Netflix had been the longtime leader among teen video viewers in the Piper Jaffray results. The latest survey was conducted among 9,500 teens in 42 states; the average age of the respondents was 15.8 years.

Netflix has suffered a summer’s worth of bad news, with its shares falling more than 27% in the past three months. Its investors are becoming increasingly wary of the growing number of streaming services being offered as Americans cut the cord from cable television and turn to TV they can get online.

Netflix’s streaming competition includes Google-owned YouTube TV and more recent entrants Disney, Apple and AT&T. And, just this week, AMC Theatres announced that it is launching a streaming service of its own, which will give subscribers access to roughly 2,000 films from every major studio.

What is it about YouTube, particularly, that’s getting teenagers’ attention? In a word, it would be video, as in the power of video marketing. In releasing its poll, Piper Jaffray cited YouTube’s diversified content library, which includes a “wide array of teen-oriented content” such as music videos, video-game playthroughs, how-to videos and videos from social-media influencers, among other offerings.

Following YouTube’s 37% and Netflix’s 35%, there was a sharp drop in teens’ viewing of other video platforms, with cable TV registering at 12%, Hulu at 7% and Amazon at 3%.

The findings were in a Piper Jaffray poll that centers mostly on teens’ spending habits, and there it found that teens are getting increasingly frugal because of concerns about the economy. The teen respondents “self-reported” a 4% decline in spending this fall compared to the fall of 2018 at an average of $2,400. That, Piper Jaffray said, is the lowest annual spending level since fall 2011.

“We saw the lowest teen spending levels in eight years,” said senior research analyst Erinn Murphy “The two most challenged categories were handbags and cosmetics as females reprioritize their spending with eating out and footwear/apparel.”

Cosmetics spending for teen females was at a 19-year low, dipping 20% compared to 2018, Piper Jaffray said. Handbag spending for female teens, meanwhile, hit an all-time low of $90 a year.

Here are a few more interesting teen takeaways from the Piper Jaffray report:

• Most of Teens’ Spending Is On … Food: Of the teens surveyed, 23% reported that their dollars go toward eating out. Chick-fil-A at 18% remained the top restaurant for teens. It was followed by Starbucks (11%), Chipotle (6%), McDonald’s (5%) and Dunkin Donuts (4%). As for snacks, Lays chips were the top choice at 16%, followed by Goldfish (9%), Cheez-Its (8%), Doritos (6%) and Cheetos (5%).

• Their Heads Are Buried in iPhones: A whopping 83% of teens own an iPhone, and 86% of them expect their next phone purchase to be a newer version of said product.

• Instagram Edges Out Snapchat in Social-Media Engagement: Eighty-six percent of the Piper Jaffray teens are on Instagram, followed closely by Snapchat at 81% and then Twitter at 40%, Facebook at 31% and Pinterest at 25%. The top influencers for them on those social channels are, respectively: YouTube personality David Dobrik, model Kylie Jenner, President Donald Trump and You Tubers PewDiePie and Emma Chamberlain.

• Current Events Must Be a Part of All That Video Watching: The generation with a lifelong digital print lists these among its top social causes: The environment, 16%; immigration, 12%; gun control, 11%; abortion, 8%, and racial equality, 7%.

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