Study uncovers how consumers balance online convenience versus online fatigue entering year three of the pandemic


Cint, a global software provider in digital insights gathering, used its market research technology platform to explore how consumers in the US, UK and India are responding to spending more time online as the pandemic enters year three.

The study encompassed specific impacts on behaviors like streaming, gaming, shopping, online dating, online appointments and working. A new white paper based on the findings, Convenience versus fatigue in a digital world, illustrates the effects of digitalization on consumer mindset and behavior, across regions and generations.

The data in the paper illustrates consumer reactions to both the convenience and the mounting exhaustion surrounding moving life almost completely online. Insights can help brands and organizations uncover a baseline of where to best meet their target audiences online, while also planning for a population that is fatigued by digital activities. The study further illustrates the critical nature of using the right technology to conduct targeted, nimble consumer research in a global marketplace that continues to rapidly change. 

Some specific findings outlined in the whitepaper include: 

  • More than 50 hours a week of screentime is the new normal: Across all countries surveyed, people are spending an average of 53 hours online per week participating in activities ranging from streaming video and music to virtual appointments and online dating. That’s more than two full days and nights in a seven day period.  
  • "Digital native” generations have had enough: Gen Z reports being more negatively affected by constant digital activity than older generations with, for example, one-third preferring having video off while participating in activities like video calls.  
  • Shoppers have picked up specific habits and preferences: Desires and feelings surrounding both in-person and online shopping are diverse - and quite specific. For example, Boomers in India prioritize free delivery, those in the U.S. want shorter queues when in-store.
  • Online gaming is reaching new levels: Second only to streaming video in terms of time spent online, Gen Z in the U.K. alone are spending 15 hours a week gaming. This captive and growing audience should be included in brand outreach strategies.   

“Consumer behavior is changing and is full of nuances, which requires technology that will allow brands to keep up,” said Shawn Cabral, Global Marketing Director of Cint. “If there’s one thing this study showed us it is that it’s essential that brands tap into large, diverse respondent groups to truly understand the unique characteristics of their target audiences. The Cint platform does this with ease, providing a scalable, cost-effective approach to comprehensive market research projects, plus delivering fast results for keeping up with rapid shifts in consumer behavior and sentiment.”  

Data was uncovered by tapping into Cint’s consumer network for digital survey-based research, the world’s largest, with 145 million respondents in 130 countries. Cint explored a cross-section of nationally representative consumers in the United Kingdom (n=1002), United States (n=1005) and India (n=1008), split evenly across generations, to see how much appetite there is for online experiences and how much the digital world is causing fatigue.  
The Cint platform enables large-scale quantitative surveys like this one by providing access to diverse and unique sub-populations in each market. Using Cint technology, data from more than 3,000 global consumers was collected in just three days. 

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