Limelight Networks Releases 2016 State of Digital Downloads Report

Limelight Networks today unveiled the results of its annual State of Digital Downloads report, the latest in its studies of consumer perceptions and behaviors around digital content. The study found nearly half (45%) of consumers are more likely to download digital content of all types than they were a year ago. And the devices to which they are saving movies, television programs, songs, and games may surprise you.

LimelightnetworksPerhaps the most unexpected discovery, in just the past few months the smartphone has displaced the PC as the dominant device for the download and consumption of content. More users downloaded content onto Android-based smartphones (62 percent), while Apple’s iPad (used by 43 percent), was nearly tied with Android tablets (45 percent). As such, the Google Play store led the way as the prevalent destination for content downloads.

And what are people downloading on these mobile devices and when are they most likely to do so? Beyond OS updates, consumers are leaning mostly toward entertainment: new apps (33 percent), video games (18 percent), and movies and TV shows (13 percent). The bulk of downloading occurs at night—indicating that like the golden age of television, the hours of 6 p.m.- midnight are “prime time” for acquiring and consuming entertainment. More than 40 percent download movies and TV shows during these hours, with 35 percent similarly downloading video games and music.

“Mobile devices are never more than an arm’s length away—while it’s surprising that they have overtaken the PC and laptop for content downloads, it’s not shocking: widely-reported statistics in 2015 showed the smartphone being utilized more regularly than other devices for accessing the Internet,” says Jason Thibeault, senior director, content marketing at Limelight Networks. “This used to be simply among the Millennial set—now it’s a universal truth.”

The shift to wireless devices brought a swing in expectations—the smaller the screen, the greater the impatience, particularly among Millennial users. A slowdown or interruption in downloads leads to consumer frustration as 26 percent cite “it takes too long to complete the download” as the most significant impediment to enjoying a great digital experience and blame is directed toward mobile carriers or cable broadband providers. This is particularly true among younger users—they download the most content, are the most easily frustrated, and quickest to ascribe blame when the download experience was less than optimal.

The State of Digital Downloads study is part of Limelight Network’s series of annual surveys exploring consumer perceptions and behavior around digital content. The survey was conducted by a third-party organization with access to U.S. and international consumer panels. In all, 1,136 consumers ranging in age, gender and education completed the survey. A full report can be downloaded by visiting here.

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