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What media do South Koreans in their 40s consume?

Making decisions dictating both personal and family purchases as heads of households, those in their 40s in South Korea are the most prolific spenders amongst all age groups, leading the charge in online consumption. A survey of 242 individuals has revealed the key trends in how those in their 40s are interacting with media, and their daily habits.

Much like their younger counterparts, television viewership has declined, with the average daily view time being 1 hour and 23 minutes - usually watched on their smart TV. In comparison, their time spent on the internet is far greater. With 30% of individuals spending greater than 5 hours a day online, majority of the time through the medium of their mobile phones, the average daily usage comes in at 4 hours and 21 minutes - only 1% spending less than an hour per day.

Like younger generations, watching videos is the most popular activity to partake in online, however a stronger proportion of individuals also spend time searching for information on portal sites, alongside a strong skew towards women in online shopping - as home decision makers, as well as searching for news, and gaming for men.

While watching videos, the majority of the time is spent watching channel style content on platforms such as Youtube and Twitch, for an average of greater than 1 hour every day, with 59% of this watching being done on the mobile phone. The most used platform to watch video content is overwhelmingly Youtube for both genders, with over 85% watching there, followed up by Instagram - with a slightly higher usage rate amongst women. In terms of content, men are most interested in sports and streamers for entertainment, as well as real estate and financial information. Women, on the other hand, are watching content related to food the most, whilst also having interest in music, beauty, and financial information.

Only less than 20% of individuals identified as not engaging with any short form content, with the most popular platform to watch again being on Youtube via their ‘Shorts’ format, with 80% of men and 66% of women using it. Similarly, Instagram reels is the second most popular platform to watch this content. Interestingly, those in their 40s seemed more open than their younger peers to watching content on Tiktok.

Like those younger than them, the most popular portal site used by people in their 40s is indisputably Naver, with a greater than 90% usage rate, followed by Google and Daum, who have similar rates of usage. While searching for information, it was revealed that over 90% of individuals go to Naver first, followed by Youtube, with men more likely to use Google than women, and a skew towards women for Instagram. On portal sites, men are most often searching for information on real estate and politics, while women are searching for travel, and cooking.

On social media, the most popular platform for Koreans in their 40s is Instagram, with a larger female base, followed by Naver bands for women, and Facebook for men. The top two reasons for being on these platforms were because of the desire to interact and communicate with acquaintances, as well as to view interesting content.

Over 90% of respondents use Kakaotalk as their primary messaging and communication service, with rates of all other platforms having far less usage. As a secondary messaging platform, women predominantly use Instagram through the ease and convenience of it being their most frequently used social media platform (26%). Comparatively, 21% of men use Telegram instead.

In communities, both men and women use Naver cafe most often, whilst men are sometimes additionally active in communities on other platforms surrounding automobiles and phones.

Concluding the third instalment in our blog series exploring digital media trends in South Korea by age, the strength of the market - particularly amongst domestic trends and platforms - is evidently unrivaled. Where those in their 40s have strong control over purchase decisions not only related to themselves, but family units, reaching them on the platforms they use is essential, something that Waterbe is uniquely positioned to be able to help you in.

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


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