Roy Morgan blasts off with nine key trends of the digital universe

Roy Morgan Research has been tracking digital media for more than ten years. As more technologies emerge and are adopted with ever increasing rapidity by ‘connected consumers’ it is time to connect all the dots with The Digital Universe, a 360 degree view of how the exponentially expanding range of touchpoints is affecting New Zealanders’ media consumption, shopping habits, socialisation and expectations.

With the convergence of social networking, smartphones, blistering internet speeds, unlimited download bundles and new payment mechanisms, the digital revolution is one of the most impactful phenomena of our lifetimes.With 84 percent of New Zealanders now using the internet and consumers connecting with new and emerging technology with ever-increasing rapidity, marketers are realising that delivering a compelling, targeted message is no longer enough. You need to deliver your messages where and when your customers and prospects choose—and where and when they are most receptive.

To set the scene, I’d like to start by sharing nine key trends: 

1) Smartphone penetration and mobile internet is growing rapidly. 

Today, 68 percent of Smartphone owners use their mobile phone to access the internet and internet access via mobile phone has increased by 99 percent in the past 12 months.

2) Social media is used by the majority of New Zealanders

We have been monitoring Facebook for over five years. Now, over half (56 percent) of New Zealanders use Facebook in an average four week period. This equates to approximately two million New Zealanders aged 14+. Even more people use social media, if you include other growing platforms such as Google+ (up by 20 percent in the past six months), LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Twitter (which allows anyone to be a publisher and build an audience) is still an early adopter phenomenon. Only six percent of New Zealanders visit Twitter in an average four week period, but its growth continues and has in fact increased by 31 percent in the past 12 months. 

3) 27 percent of smartphone owners use their mobile for social networking

Given the growing prominence of smartphones, it is not surprising that social media use on mobile phones is growing so fast. 11 percent of smartphone owners in New Zealand visit Twitter in an average four week period. 

4) Digital media is quickly growing 

There are so many ways people can now access and read the news – via the printed edition, PCs, Tablets and Smartphones. Digital newspaper consumption, which has increased 112 percent in the past five years, is driving the total masthead readership of newspapers. 

Computer Tablets like the iPad, which are now accessible to over half a million (570,000) New Zealanders 14+, allow readers to view a digital version of the newspaper in high resolution. 

5) Like print, television has new competitive threats (and opportunities)

Over the past few years we have been monitoring the emergence of many rich media options which are alternative sources of video to television as we’ve know it for more than 40 years: 

  • YouTube is now used by 39 percent of New Zealanders 14+

Of interest, the group most likely to stream video content is men aged 18-24 years, with seven percent of these young men never watching commercial television. This clearly demonstrates that some consumers cannot be reached with video content in traditional mediums but are embracing new forms of video or visual entertainment.

6) TV broadcasters have been quick to reach and embrace new digital platforms

Traditional television networks, however, have been quick to react and embrace new digital platforms. We are seeing them create social TV experiments and deliver greater audience engagement by linking TV programmes with the power of the smartphone and social media. 

Another example of how new digital technology is combining with traditional mainstream media like television is Roy Morgan’s Reactor, a real-time audience involvement tool that records people’s second-by-second reactionsto programmes via the ReactorMobile App, which can be segmented, averaged and graphed live on the show. 

7) Online shopping is now mainstream. 

Most of us are surprised to learn that Trademe is now one of New Zealand’s largest shopping outlets. Roy Morgan data shows that two million New Zealanders 14+ visit Trademe in an average four week period. Comparatively, 1.95 million New Zealanders shop (buy something) at the Warehouse in the same timeframe. 

With $5.6 billion spent in online shopping by New Zealanders in the last year, it’s clear that the internet, and the increased prevalence of smartphones and tablets, is impacting the way we shop and therefore the very fabric of retailing in New Zealand. 

8) Online payment systems, like PayPal, are increasingly being used by New Zealanders when they shop online

Almost one in five (19 percent) New Zealanders are using fast-growing online payment systems like PayPal while 30 percent are using credit cards online. This also means that banks and credit card companies are facing new competitive forces that didn’t exist a few years ago. 

9) The digital universe is not just impacting the way we shop, but also the way we pay our bills. 

36 percent of New Zealanders 14+ have gone online to pay household bills in the last 12 months, while only 10 percent pay with cash and 17 percent with a cheque. 

With the advent of the digital wallet – e.g. Google Wallet and the new iPhone iOS6 operating system – consumers will become more reliant on internet payment mechanisms and less reliant on traditional modes of payment such as cash and cheques. 

  • To see the full report, which is based around four trends—communities, banking & finance, shopping and media—click here
  • Pip Elliott is the general manager of Roy Morgan New Zealand

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