More than 95% of Boston adults have access to the internet. Ubiquitous technology such as computers, tablets, smartphones, and connected TVs allow New England consumers to go online whenever they choose, which, for some adults, is always.
The Pew Research Center, a public opinion research company, reports that one-in-three consumers say they are online constantly. A 50% increase from 2015. In total, 85% of consumers say they connect at least one time every day.
So, how are Boston consumers spending all this time connected to the internet?
According to Nielsen, streaming audio and video content, social networking, checking the weather, and banking are the top online activities for Boston consumers each month.
Nielsen reports that among the large segment of Boston consumers accessing online content, more than 90%. are streaming Over-The-Top-Television, OTT for short.
OTT, sometimes called connected-TV or CTV, consists of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus that provide long-form entertainment content similar to traditional television. The difference being, OTT is not delivered over the air or by cable. OTT programming can only be accessed via the internet using a computer, smartphone, tablet, smart-TV, game console, or an accessory like a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick.
OTT reach among local consumers has achieved a level similar to that of legacy media options such as Boston radio, TV, and cable.
As Boston consumers continue to spend more time online, local business owners are investing more of their marketing budgets on digital advertising options, including inserting commercials into OTT programs.
According to Borrell Associates, a company that tracks advertising trends across the country, in 2021, Boston business owners are expected to spend $2.1 billion to reach consumers while they are online. This represents an 11% increase versus 2020.
Of course, the primary reason why so many Boston small business owners and retailers advertise online is to reach consumers while they are in the process of shopping.
According to Nielsen, 80% of Boston adults bought a product online during the past six months. Throughout 2020, these purchases totaled $12.5-billion. This amount is based on projections from eMarketer and represents a 32.4% increase versus 2019.
During the past week, says Nielsen, 67% of all consumers shopped online. This compares to just 46% pre-pandemic. Most remarkably, just over 1/3 of all digital shoppers last week were brand-new users.
Furthermore, according to Nielsen, 23% of all consumers now shop online multiple times per week.
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