Photo: Solen Feyissa

Science and technology

Dagmar, a marketing agency, conducted a Digital Media Research that reveals how much people's daily lives have changed with the evolution of media usage and devices.

Few people watch television without a phone in hand, and every fourth person now sports a smartwatch on their wrist. Additionally, YouTube has grown to rival linear television in popularity. These significant changes have occurred in the last ten years, as Dagmar has been conducting its monthly Digital Media Research.

"In 2013, we noticed that the data on Finnish digital media usage was becoming outdated faster than it was available. To address this, we started our own monthly research to track media and device usage. The data collection shows how powerful the changes have been in just a decade," said Ville Rekula, Research Director at Dagmar.

Smartwatches Appeal to All Ages

Smartphones have become a dominant force in Finnish device and media usage. While 59% of Finns owned a touchscreen smartphone in 2013, nearly everyone (94%) now has a smartphone.

Smartwatches have also gone mainstream. In 2016, only three percent, or approximately 110,000 people, reported using a smartwatch. Today, every fourth person (26%), totaling well over a million individuals, uses a smartwatch with various applications and functionalities.

"The popularity of smartwatches shows no sign of waning. It's no wonder – watches serve multiple functions and can be personalized for individual use. Smartwatches appeal to all age groups, and even older generations use them to monitor their blood pressure, for instance. The convenience of wearing a watch on one's wrist makes them popular," pondered Rekula on the device's appeal.

TikTok Also Gains Popularity Among Middle-Aged Users

Instagram is a favorite among Finns, with over half (56%) of the population following the app weekly. Among young users aged 16 to 34, three out of four (74%) use Instagram regularly.

TikTok is another popular platform among young users, with over half (51%) of 16 to 34-year-olds using it weekly. Interestingly, even middle-aged users have embraced TikTok, with one in five (22%) of those aged 35 to 54 following the platform. Overall, nearly one-third (29%) of the entire population spends time on TikTok. Snapchat remains a youth-dominated platform, with over half (56%) of 16 to 34-year-olds using it, while only one in ten (11%) of those aged 35 to 54 use Snapchat.

"The number of social media channels has dramatically increased in the past ten years. Some have dwindled over time, and we have removed some of them from our research. Who remembers Kik anymore? The trend is that young people always seek out new channels. While older generations joined Facebook and Instagram, young people moved on to platforms like TikTok or BeReal," said Rekula.

YouTube and Yle Areena Gaining Popularity – Always with a Mobile Phone

As social media platforms continue to thrive, linear television viewing has declined year after year. YouTube has taken its place and grown significantly in popularity among all age groups. Over two-thirds (69%) of respondents said they watched YouTube in the past month. Many (38%) also go to YouTube without a specific intent to watch any particular content. This behavior was exhibited by only a quarter (26%) of Finns in 2015.

Yle Areena, an on-demand streaming service, is a favorite among all age groups, with around two-thirds (64%) using it on a monthly basis. Yle Areena's usage has increased among all age groups over the past eight years.

Streaming services are continuously gaining popularity among various age groups as they expand their content offerings. Today, mobile phones are an integral part of the viewing experience, unlike in the past when viewers focused solely on a specific program or news. Two-thirds (68%) of people use their mobile phones while watching television, compared to only a quarter (25%) ten years ago.

"Social media is an essential source of entertainment: nowadays, every third Finn (31%) opens social media platforms for entertainment. In 2015, only every fifth (20%) did so. The growth has been particularly significant among middle-aged individuals," Rekula commented.

Young People Navigate, Non-Digital Natives Exercise Tighter Control

Printed newspapers have become increasingly rare in everyday life. While just under half (44%) of Finns read paid newspapers in print at least a few times a week ten years ago, only one in five (20%) do so now.

Despite the decline in print, interest in the content of newspapers has grown even further. Ten years ago, one in five (21%) Finns followed newspapers through a mobile app at least a few times a week, whereas now, one in three (34%) do so.

Listening to podcasts is on the rise across all age groups. More than one in five (22%) listen to podcasts several times a week. Three years ago, this figure was just over one in ten (13%).

"Young people are more open to consuming various media and formats. Older generations exercise stricter control and stick to traditional and trusted media sources. Young people, on the other hand, navigate through different channels via TikTok to discover content and news. They don't even think about consuming content from a specific brand. Of course, the trend in our research over the past ten years shows that this is the direction for everyone, but the pace of change differs significantly among different age groups," Rekula concluded.