Starcom Study: How Romanians’ consumer behavior evolved in 2020 in relation to the digital environment and technology

Business, Digital & Media, Marketing, Studies

According to Starcom Romania’s Tech Trends 2021 study, the digital environment was significantly useful last year, helping Romanian consumers to maintain a sense of normality in their lives. All age groups were present in the digital environment in 2020, and about 70% of Romanian consumers said they were interested in technology. The new study is part of HumaGraphExperience, a series of monthly infographics by Starcom Romania based on quantitative studies.

Andreea Zanfir, Consumer Strategist, Starcom Romania.

“Although we expected the digital environment to play an important role in our lives, we noticed that Romanians of all ages tried to adapt to this new context and look in the digital environment for what they missed most from the pre-pandemic life: communication, meetings with friends, shopping, entertainment, even through participation in cultural events, personal and professional development. Basically, a big part of their lives has moved online. As far as the technology side is concerned, although most Romanians are interested in the subject, only half of them use it. At the moment, for most of them, technology means smart home appliances, 5G, smart wearables, things they understand and have started using. Towards more advanced technologies such as AI, AR, VR or robots, they are still reserved”

The digital environment has responded to the needs of all age groups

Unsurprisingly, young people use in greater extent the digital environment. The biggest differences between youth behavior (18-24 years old) and average across all age groups were recorded in activities such as participation in online courses (55% vs. an average of 28%), listening to music online (61% vs. an average of 44%) and participation in online conferences (51% vs. 36%).

Moreover, people aged 35 to 44 used the digital environment mainly as a source of information and for participation to cultural events, while people over 45 began to be more “digital-friendly” in 2020, especially to make online payments, search for information and access online platforms.

Top social media platforms

Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape and remains the most popular platform in Romania, followed by WhatsApp and YouTube. In 2020, women were more present on Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Pinterest, while men had a greater affinity for Twitter, Viber and Tinder.

Types of online platforms accessed in 2020

E-commerce apps have been a top choice for Romanian users in the past 12 months, followed at a significant difference by banking apps, games and social media. Youngsters (18-24 y.o.) accessed game, movie, photo editing, as well as e-learning apps. Persons aged 25-34 accessed music, private transport services, videoconference and nutrition apps, while more mature age segments have started to use banking, social and e-mail apps more than in other years.

Games and play

Puzzle and strategy games are in the top preferences of Internet users from the urban environment. Puzzle is played to a greater extent by mature people (over 55 y.o.) and strategy games are played by younger generations (18-34 y.o.). In fact, the 18-34 segment are the most enthusiastic players and those who dedicate the most time to multi-player, shooter and role-playing games. Persons aged 35 to 44 prefer adventure and combat type of games.

Podcasts of the year

The study shows that podcasts have started to be more and more popular. Approximately 6 out of 10 Internet users from the urban environment listen to podcasts for entertainment and relaxation, while approximately 40% appeal to them for educational and informative purposes (especially persons over 55 y.o.). Younger generations (18-34 y.o.) prefer inspirational podcasts, real stories from day to day life, while persons aged 45-54 listen or watch technology podcasts to a greater extent.

Zoom, the main videoconference platform

The main videoconference platforms used last year were Zoom, Skype and Meet (Google). Zoom was used to a greater extent by men (71%), persons aged 25-34 (75%), those with high education (75%) and with a household income of over 5,000 lei (76%), while Skype  was mainly accessed by men (51%) and persons over 55 years old (53%). Last but not least, Meet (Google) was popular among youngsters aged 18-24 (53%). To a less extent, Teams (28%) and Webex (10%) were used.

YouTube, top preference as music platform

YouTube remains the top choice as music platform for Romanians over 55 years old (92%), but also persons with lower income (93%). YouTube is followed, at a considerable distance, by Spotify, used more compared to the urban average by those aged 18-24 and by persons with high household income. By contrast, Apple Music (12%), SoundCould (10%) and Deezer (7%) are less used by urban Internet users.

Interest in technology

Interest in technology among urban Internet users is fairly high: 67% declared themselves interested and 40% are trying to remain up to date and get informed about the latest technologies. Smart home appliances are the most popular technologies among urban Internet users, especially persons with high household income (44%) and those aged 25-34 (41%), who intend to also use them in the future. These are followed by 5G technology, preferred especially by men and persons with high education, while green energy is of interest for the age segment 35-44, and also those with high income.

Advanced technologies such as: VR, AR, AI, robots need more time to grow, in order to be understood and accepted. Currently, although they are fairly known, usage percentage is low (under 10%).

Tech Trends study was done by media agency Starcom on a sample of 809 persons,  both female and male, 18+ y.o., urban Internet users.