The level of global video streaming has skyrocketed since the Covid-19 crisis began, with more people staying at home, watching video across all their devices. The carbon footprint of this nonstop viewing isn’t easy to calculate, but it’s fair to say that it’s significant. One aggressive claim cites a six-hour video binge on Netflix as equivalent to burning a liter of fuel. Streaming involves a complex mix of data center capacity and electricity -- both of which produce carbon dioxide, the levels of which vary depending on the technology being used.
Sometime during the 2020-21 Covid-19 pandemic, video streaming, which had already gained a foothold in terms of mass-market entertainment, took a big lead over linear TV. Consumers started cutting the cord en masse, as they’d long been predicted to do. A proliferation of digital-first content providers and robust streaming technology coupled with people being stuck in their homes for what felt like infinity created the perfect conditions for OTT video streaming to take what’s traditionally been the domain of TV broadcasters by storm.
The 2020 Cyber Five shopping period broke all previous records for Cyber Five spending, coming in at about 38 billion USD (compared to 28.5 billion USD in 2019). This probably won’t come as a surprise as Black Friday and Cyber Monday moved almost entirely online, followed by record-breaking Amazon Prime Day and Singles Day preceding the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Despite the continued onslaught of Covid-19, good news about successful vaccine trials and greater certainty of a peaceful transfer of power to the new president-elect in the United States contributed to a boost in consumer confidence.
Thanks to Covid-19, 2020 has been a year in which e-commerce leapt ahead of all expectations to achieve a decade’s worth of growth in just under nine months. As a result, the novelty of online shopping will have worn off and become a normal part of daily life. More consumers than ever are online not only looking for steep discounts and crazy deals but are also relying on e-commerce for necessities and basics. This holiday season, the Cyber-Five shopping period appears to be on track for moving almost completely online, influenced by skyrocketing Covid numbers, lockdowns and social distancing guidelines, a new level of comfort with online shopping, and a wide array of bargains to incentivize shopping online.