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How do those in their 50s keep up with media trends in Korea?

Well-lived in their adult lives, those in their 50s in Korea are able to embrace both the past and the present when it comes to media, learning and keeping up to date where necessary, but also leaning into what they comfortably know. They have strongly established themselves as a slightly unique set of consumers in comparison to those in their younger years.

Unlike their younger peers who are watching less and less television in favor of internet usage, those in their 50s find time to keep up their old habits, whilst also embracing the new. Out of all age groups, those in their 50s spend the most time watching tv, with over 50% watching for more than an hour per day, and average view time coming close to 2 hours (1 hour and 43 minutes).

When it comes to the internet, the majority of those in their 50s are spending 2-4 hours a day online, with an average usage time of 4 hours. Interestingly, where the mobile phone dominates younger age groups, they use both mobile and PC equally in their time online.

During this time, unlike all other younger generations, the most common activity for those in their 50s is searching for information on portal sites (67%, 52%). However the trends of the younger generations still impact them, being followed by the dominant behavior across generations of watching online videos (55%, 50%). Interestingly, whilst still used, social media lags behind for this age group, where women prioritize online shopping, and men are interested in media and news.

Much like all other age groups, Naver is the most important and widely used search engine platform, with over 95% of individuals identifying it as their main portal site, followed by Daum, then Google. Further, when looking at the path people take to find information, over 80% identify Naver as the first place they go, followed by Youtube - favored by women, with Daum and Google preferred by men. The key purpose of using such search portals, identified by both women and men, is to search for information, while women also use search engines to research and purchase products online.

Those in their 50s dedicate less time than others to watching videos on their phones, with 74% of individuals watching for only an hour or less per day; however, Youtube is still the most popular platform to do so, with 90% watching, trailed by over the top (OTT) media at 27%, and Instagram at less than 25%.

When it comes to short-form content, a greater skew of women than men identified that they did not engage with it (25% versus 19%), with more men watching on each platform. The most popular of which being Youtube Shorts, followed by Instagram Reels, and Tiktok. It was found that men watch a variety of content across platforms such as political content, financial investment information, travel, and entertainment, whilst women were mainly interested in food and cooking content.

Being less used overall amongst this age group than others, the most popular social media platform among those in their 50s is Instagram - with less than 50% using, followed by Kakao story, and Facebook (with a greater proportion of male usage rates). Reasons to use social media were mainly to communicate with friends, and to view interesting content in free time.

When it comes to keeping in touch with one another, Kakaotalk leads the way, with over 90% usership, followed by Facebook Messenger amongst men - who use it out of convenience related to their usage of Facebook. Significantly, neither men or women seemed to use many other messaging platforms frequently.

Both men and women use Naver Cafe as their primary source of online communities, followed by Daum Cafe, with some men (15%) additionally using Bobae Dream adjacent to their interest in cars.

Ultimately, it is clear that whilst able to keep up with current digital trends and changes, those in their 50s know what works for them and are happy to stick with it; therefore, it is essential to have a deep understanding of their nuanced behaviors and consumption patterns of media in order to reach them effectively.

To get more information about the South Korean market and digital marketing strategies, find us at Waterbe Corp.


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