Global Media Intelligence 2019: Sweden

Key Features

Alternatives to live TV are already widely used in Sweden, even among older residents who are typically slower to adopt new digital habits.

  • In total, over 85% of internet users polled in H1 2019 had watched traditional TV in the prior month, according to GlobalWebIndex. Yet live TV viewing is notably less widespread in Sweden than in most European countries. In H1 2019, 76.8% of respondents ages 16 to 64 had watched live broadcast TV in the previous month, compared with 87.8% in the UK, 93.4% in France and 94.6% in Spain. There were significant disparities across age groups in Sweden; penetration was over 95% among 55- to 64-year-olds, but that share plummeted to 77.7% for younger users ages 16 to 24.
  • Broadcast radio displayed a similar pattern. Three-quarters (74.8%) of internet users polled had listened to live radio in the previous month, but response rates ranged from 82.4% in the oldest cohort to 65.8% among 16-to-24-year-olds. The average time spent with broadcast radio was quite high, however, at 1 hours, 19 minutes (1:19) per day—just as average time spent with broadcast TV was a solid 2 hours daily.
  • For many of Sweden’s younger internet users, digital audio services have replaced live radio. This year, penetration of digital audio approached 72%. Usage was nearly universal (95.0%) among respondents 16 to 24, and at 83.0% of those ages 25 to 34.
  • A large majority of internet users in Sweden have also embraced alternatives to live TV viewing. In H1 2019, 89.2% had used video-on-demand (VOD) in the prior month—significantly higher than the share viewing live TV. Even among the oldest users, ages 55 to 64, 79.0% were VOD viewers.
  • Nearly 65% of survey respondents had used broadcasters’ catch-up services to watch TV shows. Subscription video services such as Netflix reached a slightly greater audience, at 66.5%. Meanwhile, fewer than a third had recorded TV programs to watch later.
  • About 58% of survey respondents in Sweden had read a print newspaper in the month prior to polling—but here too the results correlated directly with age, ranging from penetration rates of 41.8% for 16- to 24-year-olds, to 75.7% for those 55 to 64.
  • Internet users in Sweden are much more likely to use social networks these days. GlobalWebIndex found that 84.5% of respondents went on social media platforms in the month preceding the survey and spent an average of 1:50 per day. The oldest group, ages 55 to 64, was the only one to record usage below 80%.
  • Adoption of voice assistants has been fairly slow in Sweden; 19.4% of internet users polled had used voice search or voice command tools like Siri or Cortana via any device in the past month. Usage was particularly low in the oldest age group, at 9.2%, and far above the average (33.6%) in the 16-to-24 bracket. Nearly one-quarter of respondents living in the top 25% of households, ranked by income, also said they had used voice commands with digital devices.


Karin von Abrams