[INTERVIEW] Survey company predicts greater spending on household appliances, digital content

By Lim Chang-won Posted : February 2, 2021, 17:17 Updated : February 5, 2021, 08:13

[Aju Business Daily]

SEOUL -- A COVID-19 pandemic has brought up epochal changes in the pattern of consumption as social distancing, an act of not engaging in social activities or not visiting populated places, became a social trend. Content services have gained popularity as many people abandoned outdoor activities.

The pandemic is accelerating digital transformation and social changes. However, the prediction that digital transformation will gain in speed as a whole from daily life to corporate production activities has already come out before the world was hit by COVID-19, said CEO Hwang Hee-young of Opensurvey, a consumer data company that leverages mobile application and advance analytical techniques.

"A number of notable phenomena did not occur suddenly because of COVID-19," Hwang said in an interview with Aju Business Daily. "Before COVID-19, the amount of time consumers spend at home has steadily increased," she said, predicting that consumers will invest more in household appliances or increase the utilization of digital content such as over-the-top (OTT) media.

In 2020, 66.3 percent of South Koreans used video streaming services or OTT media, compared to 52 percent a year ago, according to a survey of 6,029 people conducted by the Korea Communications Commission (KCC). Entertainment was most-watched with 69.8 percent, followed by dramas with 37.2 percent. The commission found that YouTube was the most popular service with its usage rate standing at 62.3 percent. Netflix, the world's top OTT platform, was second with 16.3 percent.

"If the content market grows and the stay-at-home culture spreads, OTT will also increase the number of paid subscribers like audio (online music services)," Hwang said. The 2019 report published by Opensurvey showed that OTT services are growing rapidly due to an increase in paid subscribers.

Opensurvey, backed by 180,000 panels, uses big data to check the behavior patterns of consumers in real-time. "Data analytics tools tell us what activities consumers do a lot, but they don't analyze why," Hwang said, suggesting that unlike content consumption, living patterns are often affected by a person's social position, age and gender.

Hwang introduced AI technology to upgrade existing surveys, automatically selecting and organizing meaningful data that must be seen after the survey is completed. She hopes to expand data collected from survey panels into video, voice, and image files. AI automatically extracts and analyzes meaningful data values from files, allowing companies to more closely read products and usage patterns used by customers.

In the post-COVID-19 era, Hwang said that the ability to read data would be important for both individuals and companies. "The best way to predict the coming future is to look at the data that reflects the current trend of change."

(This interview was conducted by Aju Business Daily reporter Cha Hyun-a)
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