What UK preschoolers want: Tablets, YouTube & Netflix

A Childwise study reveals tablet ownership among UK preschoolers is rising as mobile phone access drops, and most three- to four-year-olds use VOD services to watch TV.
September 20, 2016

The latest Monitor Preschool Report from UK research firm Childwise shows preschoolers in the UK are increasingly comfortable using tablets and apps, are less needy for mobile phones, prefer YouTube for on-demand content, and turn to Netflix for subscription-based programs.

Despite predictions from market researchers like IDC, which forecast an 11.5% year-over-year decline in the worldwide tablet market, the results from Childwise reveal clear opportunities in the tablets-for-tots market.

The report finds that one in three under-fives has his or her own tablet computer, and this number increases to nearly half among three- to four-year-olds.

Seven out of 10 preschoolers also have access to either a tablet or computer at home. In addition, the majority of three- to four-year-olds can open their preferred apps, use the volume, on/off and camera controls on their tablet and navigate multiple apps.

As for when preschoolers are most likely to use their tablets, afternoons and evenings see the most traction. These increases come as mobile phone usage among preschoolers has dropped from 50% last year to 33% in 2016.

What hasn’t changed from last year is the average time—more than 2.5 hours per day—preschoolers spend watching programs, films and videos.

And the majority of parents, according to the study, are satisfied with the amount of time their children spend watching this content, although one in six say they are not comfortable with their children’s viewing levels.

Looking at VOD consumption, YouTube is the preferred platform and app for on-demand video, with nearly two in five preschool households accessing television and other content this way. More than one in six preschoolers, in fact, watch via the YouTube Kids app.

As for the SVOD space, Netflix is the leading subscription-based service for preschoolers, ahead of other paid services like Sky.

By ages three to four, the majority of preschoolers are now using VOD services to access TV programs.

Another area of research completed in the study examines how much parents are spending on their preschool-aged children across nine different categories (clothes, days out, organized activities, footwear, books, magazines, DVDs/Blu-Rays, apps and games), and breaks down a number of gender differences.

Findings show parents spend an average of US$152 per month on daughters versus US$131 on boys, and most of the monthly spend goes to clothes.

Parents of under-fives spend US$32 per month dressing their toddler sons compared to US$37 on girls.

It was also revealed that an equal numbers of boys and girls chose a book as their most treasured possession, but parents of boys spend 25% less on books per month than parents of girls.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at



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