The Cross-Platform Report: A New Connected Community

According to the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, Americans spent more than 34 hours per week in front of a TV set in Q2, 2012, where they watched traditional TV, DVDs and played games.  Most of the content from these activities was delivered to the TV set in a traditional manner– over broadcast, cable, satellite or telco connection– and a growing amount was delivered by Internet connection.  Americans also added another five hours in front of the computer screen using the Internet, or watching video content, and an increasing amount of time using smartphones this quarter.

Simultaneous Usage Continues to Grow as We Become More and More Connected

Tablets and smartphones are proving to be new, novel and potentially necessary utilities, aiding Americans in connecting with the people and content they desire.  These devices enable a new trans-generational community of connected consumers that crosses age, gender, race and ethnic lines to truly participate in the multitasking that used to be reserved for the young, or tech savvy elite.  Smartphones now have a market penetration greater than 50 percent, and tablets are already in nearly 20 percent of US TV homes.

While tablets and smartphones offer the freedom of mobility, close to 40 percent of Americans now use their tablets or smartphones while watching TV at least once a day, and twice as many do it at least once a month.  Modernity, in its new form, enables myriad content access points. It’s a fact of which Americans are taking full advantage. These devices are omnipresent, and not just among the youth.

Today, more than 39 percent of people use their smartphone at least once a day while watching TV, 62 percent say they do this multiple times a week and 84 percent do at least once a month.

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Mobile and video ace this year’s back to school report

Today, shopping is no longer limited to the mall – it happens at home, waiting in line, or at the doctor’s office. If you’re armed with a smartphone, every moment is now a shopping opportunity. As retailers gear up for this month’s back-to-school shopping crunch, we took to the digital Main Street to find out how consumer shopping patterns have changed. Focusing on apparel shopping, we analyzed consumer shopping behavior from the point of sale backward, and surveyed apparel shoppers to understand shopping trends.

We found that not only is online research playing an integral role than in both online and in-store purchases, consumers are increasingly shopping on their mobile devices and using online video to inform purchase decisions. In fact, 4 in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video online. Here are a few highlights from the report:

Mobile devices bring the mall to you

Mobile shopping is not a sporadic activity limited to weekend trips to the mall. It’s constant and pervasive. More than 1 in 5 apparel consumers are using their tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for shopping. People are shopping on their mobile devices throughout all parts of the day – and not just while on-the-go. More than 69% of consumers shopped on their phone or tablet while at home, 31% while in a store, 28% while waiting in line, and 27% while at work.

People are using their mobile devices as shopping assistants by informing purchase decisions and helping them locate the best deal. Of people that shop on their mobile device, 56% compare prices and look for promotions, 42% read reviews, 38% search inventory, 16% scan bar code while in store, and 13% contact the retailer.

Video is the virtual fitting room
Aspects such as fit and quality – easily apparent in person – become harder to grasp when shopping online. Video has now filled the role as the virtual fitting room, enabling shoppers to hear personal opinions and reviews, and see the product in motion. In fact, video has become so influential that 4 in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video. Today, nearly 1 in 3 shoppers use YouTube to shop for apparel. So it’s no surprise that video ads top traditional media in encouraging purchases. Thirty-four percent of apparel shoppers are more likely to purchase after viewing an online video ad, versus 16% after watching an ad on TV.

Millennials (aged 18-34) are twice as likely than other age groups to rely on a video to decide which company to purchase from, and are regularly turning to YouTube for shopping advice. YouTube vloggers posting their latest shopping finds aren’t just sharing their recommendations with close friends, they’re sharing with an audience of thousands of subscribers and millions of views –MacBarbie07, a popular YouTube partner, has more than 100M views of her styling tips. And this fall we’re seeing even more shopping reviews on YouTube – there are nearly 600,000 shopping “haul” videos on YouTube, more than 35,000 of which were uploaded within the last month alone.

  

Digital shoppers are valuable customers People who shop on their mobile devices and research with video tend to not only spend more on average purchases, but do so more frequently. We found that 1 in 4 mobile researchers purchased apparel more than 6 times in the past 6 months (versus 16% of non-mobile researchers). And 28% of video researchers spent more than $500 on apparel in the past 6 months, while only 2% of non-video researchers did. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next 5 years we’ll see a bigger change to shopping than we’ve seen in the past 50. Download the full report for more insight into this year’s shopping trends.

  • Mobile devices aid discovery: Nearly half of mobile apparel shoppers discover new brands on mobile devices.
  • Video drives apparel sales: 4 in 10 visited in store or retailer website as a result of watching apparel videos.
  • Online apparel shoppers can’t resist a good deal: Over 1 in 4 purchases are impulsive, with 73% of apparel shoppers reporting that it is because they received a good deal.

Cross-Platform Report: How We Watch From Screen to Screen

The average American watches nearly five hours of video each day, 98 percent of which they watch on a traditional TV set, according to the Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, released today. Although this ratio is less than it was just a few years ago, and continues to change, the fact remains that Americans are not turning off. They are shifting to new technologies and devices that make it easier for them to watch the video they want, whenever and wherever they want.

TV is Still the Center of Viewing
In the past year, the number of homes with an HDTV grew by more than 8 million to 80.2 million, leaving little doubt that the TV screen remains the dominant platform on which to consume video content. But the means by which the content is delivered appear to be shifting.

Traditional—live and timeshifted—TV viewing remains the primary role of the TV, accounting for more than 33 hours per week despite a decline one half of one percent in time spent compared to Q4 2010. To fill the gap, consumers are finding new ways to use their TVs.

Game Consoles Now in Nearly Half of TV Homes
Consoles have become strategically positioned as a secondary gateway to TV content, and can now be found in 45 percent of TV homes, an increase of three percent over last year. With Netflix and other streaming apps, Blu-ray players, social gaming and point of purchase seamlessly integrated into game consoles, it is no surprise that consumers are relying on their consoles to perform double (and triple) duty. These new activities are adding up and contributing to the growth of content consumption. Interestingly, households without children are leading the way in new game console adoption, demonstrating that game consoles are appealing to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes.

Mobile Viewership Small but Growing
With improving screens, Internet connectivity and the advantage of being “the best screen available” while on the go, smartphones are increasingly becoming portable TVs. In fact, 33.5 million mobile phone owners now watch video on their phones—an increase of 35.7 percent since last year. While mobile phones won’t replace other screens anytime soon, they are part of the ever-increasing number of ways in which consumers consume content.

Padcaster iPad case: add DSLR glass to your tablet’s camera

The iPad’s a great tool for editing and sharing video, and the new model even has an excellent camera, but without multiple lenses, or a tripod mount it’s not as usable or versatile as dedicated video cameras. The Padcaster aims to change that: it’s a sturdy case that lets you connect your tablet to a tripod and a lens, and turn it into a one-step solution for recording, editing, and sharing video. The $199 device was just announced this week at NAB, and we got a chance to test out one of the prototypes.

The case is big, to be sure, with a soft red inside and a hard aluminum shell — you’re not going to want to leave your iPad in the Padcaster all the time. It’s strong, though, and held the iPad in securely. Around the edges of the camera are a handful of thread holes and openings, so you can attach the device to a tripod, add a flash or an accessory, or connect an external mic. Using the also-new $79.99 Lenscaster mount, Padcaster creator Josh Apter mounted a Carl Zeiss lens on the camera so he could get film-like focusing range and depth of field.

All said and done, it makes for a pretty great solution for shooting quick video. You can record video, edit in your favorite app (Apter mentioned iMovie and Filmic Pro are his favorites), and then quickly share and upload the final product. We didn’t get to test the prototype much ourselves, but the video we saw from the Padcaster rig was impressive — maybe not DSLR-quality, but still far better than we expected.

The Padcaster is on sale now, but get in quickly if you’re interested: Apter told us that one day after announcing the product, it’s already back-ordered for eight weeks. The company will also be making Padcaster models for iPhones, as well as other tablets.

Thanks to our friends at the Vergve.