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What are the media consumption habits of Koreans in their 20s?

Digitally native South Koreans in their 20s are spoiled for choice when it comes to media, but know exactly what it is they want. With a mobile phone always on hand, young adults are engaging with media in ways which suit their own individual interests best - with stark differences between the global and domestic consumer, as well as contrasting gendered media consumption trends.

A survey of 215 South Koreans in their 20s has highlighted a stark decline in traditional consumption habits, with only one hour of television being watched per day, making way for a continued increase in levels of ever-evolving digital consumption.

An average of 5 hours is spent on the familiar ground of the internet, with just under one third of individuals spending over 6 hours online. Significantly, whilst this usage includes multiple contexts of work and education as well as personal use, most of this time is spent on their phones.

So, where are they spending this time?

Interestingly, the most popular activities vary greatly depending on gender. On average amongst those in their 20s, the most time is spent watching video content, with an average of just under 3 hours spent watching. Youtube dominates the video media sphere, with almost 90% watching channel videos, and 84% also engaging with their short-form ‘Shorts’. Significantly, current worldwide dominator Tiktok was used by less than 10% of respondents at all (with men being more open to use), compared to 56% of their american peers. Additionally, platforms AfreecaTV and Twitch were particularly popular amongst men, reflective of their desire to watch single-person streamers and game related content.

Whilst spending time on social media is the average second most common activity on the internet, when looking at women alone it is their most popular choice, and similarly men have a skewed preference towards gaming as their second option, with social media in third.

On social media, Instagram is overwhelmingly the platform of choice for both genders (even more so for women with 90% of them using the social networking service). Reasons identified by individuals to use social media was to view interesting content, communicate with acquaintances, and keep up with current trends.

How do they find information?

When searching online, localized site Naver dominates, with over 94% of respondents using the portal, and less than 50% actively searching for information with global leader Google. On the rise, 54% of women felt that they also acquired information through social media platforms, and men similarly found video channel content useful in this regard.

Similarly, local platform Kakaotalk leads the way as the top choice for communication with one another at 90% usage. The strength of Instagram as a rising platform is evident however, where the convenience of it already being a primary place to spend time, and functionality places it as the overall second choice, with a particular skew towards women. Whilst women rarely communicate with others on platforms outside of the top two, 22% of men also use discord, in alignment with the popularity of gaming amongst them.

The media content landscape amongst adults in their 20s in South Korea is one that is more nuanced than what would appear at first glance, needing to take into consideration not just the differing behaviors of men and women, but also the overwhelming strength of localized domestic offerings. Waterbe’s deep understanding of the South Korean market allows us to access these consumers effectively.

To find out more information about the South Korean market and digital marketing strategies to target it, find us at


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