IGEM Digimonitor: Facebook slumps among young Swiss, streaming services make gains

The young Swiss are turning away from Facebook. Spotify is the fastest-growing digital platform ahead of Netflix. However, classic media continue to be used by broad masses - from young to old. This is shown by the Digimonitor study of the electronic media interest group (IGEM) and WEMF.

The most important results at a glance:

  • Spotify is growing the fastest of all platforms. Around 1.6 million people in Switzerland now use Spotify (26 percent). But 5.6 million people listen to the radio (88 percent).
  • Netflix is no longer growing as fast. Just under 1.8 million watch Netflix (28 percent) and 4.2 million use YouTube from time to time (67 percent). But 5.9 million watch traditional TV (94 percent) and 3.4 million went to the movies in the last six months (53 percent). 
  • Facebook is slumping among the young: in 2019, only 36 percent of young Swiss people are still on Facebook. Thanks to WhatsApp and Instagram, the Facebook group nevertheless counts 80 percent of the Swiss population among its users.
  • Voice-controlled speakers such as Amazon Echo are well known, but the smart speakers are still hardly used in Switzerland.

Facebook loses, streaming services gain

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Young Swiss people between the ages of 15 and 24 are turning their backs on Facebook. While 82 percent of young people still used Facebook at least occasionally in 2014, only 36 percent still do so in 2019. On the other hand, the music streaming service Spotify is growing strongly. Within a year, Spotify has gained 325,000 new users. 1.6 million people now listen to music via Spotify at least occasionally, which corresponds to a quarter of the total population. Among younger people aged 15 to 24, the proportion of Spotify and Netflix users is more than twice as large: around 60 percent of young Swiss people listen to music on Spotify or watch Netflix from time to time. Spotify is used more intensively than Netflix: one in six Swiss aged 15 and over listens to Spotify every day. But only one in ten tunes in to Netflix every day.

In 2015, only 5 percent of the population aged 15 and older watched Netflix from time to time. By 2019, more than one in four (28 percent) do so. However, Netflix's growth has slowed significantly. Netflix now has just under 1.8 million users in Switzerland. You have to be able to afford the Netflix subscription: As income rises, Netflix usage increases. 

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Gender differences in platform preference

Instagram continues to grow. 27 percent of the population is occasionally on Instagram. Instagram is especially popular among the young: 80 percent of 15 to 24-year-olds use Instagram, the majority of them even several times a day. The average age of Instagram users is 32. Only the users of Snapchat and Twitch are significantly younger, at around 25. The youngest are the users of the Chinese video portal Tik Tok: These are not yet 16 years old. E-sports on the gaming platform Twitch, which belongs to Amazon, is practically a purely male topic: just under 90 percent of the 260,000 users are male.

Women are also significantly less present than men on the short message service Twitter and the career platforms Linkedin and Xing. In contrast, Pinterest has almost only female users. Of the 1.1 million occasional users on Pinterest, over 800,000 are women.

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Classic media continue to be used

Despite the many new digital offerings, television, radio and cinema remain popular in Switzerland. With 5.6 million listeners, radio far outstrips the 1.6 million Spotify users. Younger people also still listen to the radio widely. More than three quarters of people under 25 listen to the radio, and not quite half even do so daily.

Cinemas are also still being visited despite Netflix and Co. More than half of the population has been to the cinema at least once in the last 6 months. Cinema is even more popular among younger people: More than 80 percent of people under the age of 25 go to the cinema at least once every six months, a large proportion of them several times.

The 5.9 million TV viewers outweigh the just under 1.8 million Netflix users by more than three times. Even compared to YouTube, traditional TV has almost 1.7 million more viewers. With 94 percent of the population aged 15 and over, the broad masses watch television. Two-thirds of the Swiss turn on the TV on an average day. Almost 40 percent of 15 to 24-year-olds also watch television every day. Thanks to smartphones and computers, people are also increasingly watching television on the move and on the move. However, the majority of TV use still takes place at home in front of the classic TV set with a large screen. For younger Swiss people in particular, television is a "social medium" and is watched more often than average when visiting friends, acquaintances or relatives. The classic TV set remains by far the most popular device for watching television in all age groups. 

Large user base for "Libra" in Switzerland

Despite the decline at Facebook, the user base for the introduction of the planned digital currency "Libra" is large. Mark Zuckerberg's company reaches 80 percent of the Swiss population aged 15 and over with its Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp services. Among those under 40, almost all (95 percent) use at least one platform from the Facebook universe. The messaging service Whatsapp accounts for the largest share. Whatsapp alone is used by more than three-quarters of the population (77 percent). Instagram and Facebook hardly bring the Facebook group any additional reach. 

Smart speakers are known, but hardly used yet

Voice-controlled speakers such as Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod are known to the Swiss: Just under 40 percent know what such smart speakers are. However, only an absolute minority actually use them. Less than 3 percent of the population speak at least occasionally with a smart speaker. That's not even 170,000 people.

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The Study Digimonitor has been surveying the use of electronic media and devices in Switzerland every year since 2014. The data is representative of the entire population in German- and French-speaking Switzerland aged 15 and over, because offliners and people without a fixed-line connection are also surveyed. On behalf of the electronic media interest group IGEM and WEMF, the Link Institute surveyed 1786 people by telephone in 2019, 1034 of them in German-speaking Switzerland and 752 in French-speaking Switzerland. The confidence interval is a maximum of +/- 2.3 percentage points.

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