Written by: Courtney Godshall and Becky Thatcher Baer

Who is cord-cutting?

As previously reported, consumers who prefer online streaming as their primary TV viewing outperformed those who prefer live TV in 2022. Given that trend, it is unsurprising that by Q2 2022, cord-cutters surpassed cable/satellite subscribers.

The preference for cord-cutting has shifted since the beginning of 2022, and by the beginning of June, cord-cutting consumers surpassed cable/satellite subscribers. Not only have cord-cutters outperformed traditional methods, but almost half (46%) of those who have not “cut the cord” yet this past year are “considering it.” Among those who have, very few (6%) regret it. Cord-cutting is here to stay, and the industry must adapt.

Who is driving the cord-cutting trend?

Consumers driving the cord-cutting trend align well with the shifting demographics across America. Popularity is growing among young and diverse consumers and those living in cities and rural communities alike. It may be one of the few similarities in America’s current urban/rural divide.

Key demographics of cord-cutters:

  • More likely to be under 55
    • Twice as likely to be under 34 years old
  • More likely to have a household income of less than $50k
  • Less likely to live in the suburbs
  • More likely to identify as Black or Hispanic

Compared to the average consumer, cord-cutters are also slightly more likely to be open to new experiences and curious. Thus leading them to own/want augmented and virtual reality products. They are also influenced more by social media when choosing products.

In addition to being slightly more curious, creative, and innovative, cord-cutters are even more likely to be temperamental and emotional. Traits like these can lead to more impulsive decision-making, possibly unsubscribing to a streaming provider if dissatisfied, which we have recently seen in the decline of Netflix subscribers. In addition, these more anxious traits also mean they would likely turn to TV and movies as an escapism from the stress and concerns of life – potentially making them power users of streaming platforms and content.

Why did they cut the cord?

Among all consumers who have cut the cord, the price of cable services is the primary reason, especially among 35–54-year-olds, but the preference for streaming content comes in second. Poor customer service from cable companies, fewer commercials, and lack of interest in watching live TV round out the top choices. With three of the top five reasons being more behavioral preference and not cost or service, cable companies will have fewer levers to pull to lure cord-cutters back.

Limited access to cable as a reason for cord-cutting represents a small portion of consumers. However, almost all demographic segments driving the cord-cutting trend ranked it higher than the average U.S. adult, indicating that cord-cutting provides improved access to TV viewing.

It’s abundantly clear that cord-cutting is a trend that will continue. As consumers, we want what we want when we want it, and streaming provides us with the instant gratification we have become accustomed to. Undoubtedly, the industry is being disrupted, opening the door to innovation and new players. Here at CivicScience, we’ll continue tracking and studying this evolving and explosive market!

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[1] Since the 1980s, there’s been an enormous amount of research in the field of psychology supporting the idea that every individual’s personality can be described in terms of five fundamental traits: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism