Since December of 2018, CivicScience has been running a daily tracking question, asking current Netflix users how they access and pay for the platform. During that timeframe, we studied 48,659 U.S.-based Netflix viewers, finding that 66% pay for the service in full by themselves, 9% share the cost with another user, and 26% share an account without paying. 

The numbers have shown some movement, however, with the percentage of users who access the service for free (“Borrowers”) falling from 30% in Q4 of last year to 24% this month. Still, that means nearly 1 in 4 Netflix users are sharing another account.

So, who are these people? 

Here’s what we’re seeing about Netflix Borrowers:

No surprise, Netflix Borrowers are young – for the most part. As one would expect, 49% of all Freeloaders are under the age of 30. Presumably, they’re still accessing their parent’s accounts, or maybe a generous roommate who has a better job than they do. But that also means the majority of Netflix Borrowers are 30 or older, while 30% are 45 or older. 15% of them are grandparents, presumably accessing an account that belongs to their kids. A similar 15% of Borrowers live in households with over $125,000 in income – so it’s not like they’re all broke. 

They’re more likely to be live-alone, apartment-dwelling city-slickers. Netflix Borrowers are more likely to live in cities, as opposed to suburban or rural areas. They’re also more likely than average to be Black or Hispanic, which makes sense, given what we know about the close family ties prevalent among minority families. Although 16% of Borrowers live alone, which is a rate nearly 20% higher than non-Borrowers. They’re also 44% more likely than average to be an only-child, presumably because they’re not fighting with other siblings for access to mom and dad’s account.   

Netflix Borrowers are likely to freeload comedy and horror films. A not-shocking discovery given their younger average age, our Borrowers are much more likely than average to list comedy or horror films as their favorite movie genre. On the flip side, they’re much less likely to enjoy action flicks. Interestingly, when they’re not watching Netflix, Borrowers are way more likely than non-Borrowers to watch ABC – and much less likely to watch CBS – as their broadcast network of choice. 

But they’re also way more likely to prefer their TV shows be released intermittently, rather than bingeing them all at once. This is a noteworthy insight, as full-paying Netflix account holders are way, way more likely to want their TV shows to be released all at once. 

Most importantly (not really), Netflix Borrowers are way less likely to be blonde. In fact, 85% of Borrowers report having black or brown hair, compared to less than 70% of the average population. For some crazy reason, redheads are way more likely to split the cost of their Netflix account with someone else. 

Who knew?



P.S.- This is the second of four reports we will be sharing on different segments of Netflix users, to access previous reports, click here.