comScore

Watching video content on smart phones increased over the past year even as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country and kept more Americans home. Overall, online video consumption is growing on all platforms with total digital consumption spiking 83% since 2017, according to a new study from the media analytics company Comscore.

The analysis found online video consumption is growing across all channels, including mobile video, desktop video and over-the-top video, or OTT – video consumption through a connected TV.

In the past three years, OTT usage has spiked 164%, followed by a 65% increase in smart phone video usage with desktop viewing up 21%, Comscore reported.

And in the past year smart phone video watching has seen steady growth.

“Globally, time spent on mobile continues to rise, despite the increased time spent at home due to COVID-19 restrictions. 79% of total digital minutes in the U.S were spent on mobile in August 2020, up from 78% in August 2019,” the study found.

As the coronavirus pandemic forced people into their homes for weeks on end last spring, other habits changed as well, including usage changes in food and grocery platforms between August 2019 and August 2020 when people converged on delivery-based food and grocery apps, the survey reported. Mobile ordering increases were seen on apps that catered to serving Americans at home.

“Not only are we seeing an impact on category visitation, we are also seeing an increase in mobile video consumption across the U.S.,” Kelly Lewis, the product manager of digital audience at Comscore, said in a statement.

Lewis said the explosion in streaming service choices and user-generated short-form video is driving the growth.

“We expect mobile video consumption to maintain its strong platform position in the years to come,” she said.

The analysis found users in the key 25-54-year-old demographic consumed almost two thirds of total mobile video this past August.

Out of 370 billion mobile minutes used in August, 61% were in this user age group. Thirteen to 17-year-olds consumed just 1% of mobile minutes, 18-20-year-olds were at 8%, 21-24-year-olds were at 10% and 65-plus were at 8%.

More people overall used mobile or OTT for video consumption in August 2020 than used desktops, the study also found.

“We are seeing categorical impacts across mobile in 2020, and there will likely be continued turbulence in individual app and category performance through early 2021,” the researchers wrote.