Global Consumers Say TV More Indispensable Than SocNets

ipsos-preference-tv-vs-socnets-april2012.jpgSocial networks may be spreading like wildfire (with Facebook now reporting 900 million monthly users), but they don’t hold a candle to TV in many parts of the world, reports Ipsos in April 2012 survey results. In fact, almost 3 in 5 global consumers say they would pass on social networks if staying online meant they could no longer watch TV. Interestingly, the proportions preferring TV were highest in Western, developed markets such as Australia (75%), France (76%), the UK (77%), and the US (74%), and lowest in emerging markets such as Brazil (39%), China (35%), and Turkey (39%). Regionally, North America shows the strongest preference for TV (73%), while the Middle East and Africa displays the lowest (46%).

Strong Age Gap Found

There was a significant difference when breaking down the data by age groups, with preference for TV declining alongside age. In fact, while 68% of 50-64-year-olds said they would take TV over social networks, this dropped to 62% among 35-49-year-olds. And those under 35 were evenly split on the two, which Ipsos suggests is a harbinger of what’s to come.

In other analysis, those with lower household incomes are slightly more apt to give up TV than those with higher incomes (44% vs. 40%), while non-married individuals are more than 20% more likely to say they would give up TV than those who are married (45% vs. 37%). There is no consistent pattern along education levels, but those who are not employed are slightly more likely than those who are to say they would give up TV (44% vs. 41%).

Business Execs More Apt to Prefer SocNets

Although a majority of business owners and senior executives say they would forego social networks before TV, they are slightly more likely than others to show a preference for social networks. For example, while 59% of respondents who do not own a business said they prefer TV, this drops to 55% among business owners. Similarly, although 59% of respondents who are not senior executives, decision makers, or leaders said they would forego social networks over TV, the proportion dropped to 54% among individuals who identified as senior executives.

Slight Gender Gap Apparent

Data from the Ipsos study indicates that on a global basis, men are about 5% more likely than women to say they would give up social networking over TV (60% vs. 57%). Within the US, that gap is slightly more pronounced, with men 7% more likely than women to say they would give up social networking (77% vs. 72%).

This is most likely a reflection of increased adoption of social networks by women, with a September 2011 Nielsen report showing that females are the most active social networkers. The same report found 18-34-year-olds 8% more likely than the average to use social networks.

About the Data: The Ipsos data is based on a survey of 12,500 consumers in 24 countries conducted in January 2012.