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Netflix & YouTube – Key Drivers of Smartphone Data Use

by Barry Gilbert | Jan 25, 2018

AppOptix, Strategy Analytics’ device metering program based on an opt-in panel of Android users, continues to see strong data growth.  This is being driven largely by video-based apps that have a particularly large thirst for data.  Two apps in particular, Netflix and YouTube, are key contributors to video use and account for a disproportionately large consumption.  What is especially interesting is that much of this consumption continues to be on Wi-Fi despite the migration to unlimited LTE plans in the U.S.
Netflix and YouTube Use on Cellular and Wi-Fi

Only about 20% of overall YouTube data consumption and 12% of Netflix data use was consumed on cellular networks during 2017, leaving most of the use occurring via Wi-Fi.  Consumer behavior is slow to change despite the migration to unlimited data plans.

Will this consumer behavior change?  We think so, but slowly.  Drivers will include continued lower cost unlimited and uncapped plans and a migration to 5G – though this will take time.  So, in the interim, Wi-Fi is expected to remain the network access medium of choice for most consumers.

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