What’s Driving the Rapid Increase in Live Video Streaming Services

Digital communications tools have come a long way. It’s no longer good enough to simply send an email or an instant message. Live video chat has become the new norm. Skype. Join.me. GoToMeeting. Zoom. Marco Polo. WhatsApp. Google Hangouts. Facetime. Facebook Live. Facebook Messenger. Instagram stories. Twitch...The list goes on and on. If you’ve never heard of these live video chat apps, you may want to come out from under your rock. No offense, but where have you been?

Live Video Chat is on the Rise

Results of a longitudinal study spanning from 2012 to 2018 indicate the use of live video chat communications is on the rise – and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. And, although it may have begun as a social tool to create a more personal communication experience, we are now greatly increasing our use of video communications as consumers as well.

Five years ago, if you asked someone what live video chat was, Skype would likely be one of the first options that came to mind. Today, there are more ways than ever to go live with your friends in real-time. Live video chat platforms such as Facebook Live, Apple’s FaceTime, and Marco Polo are taking over the world of communication. With so many high quality options available now, it’s no surprise live video chat is catching on so quickly.

A Look at the Numbers

Out of all the ways that we communicate with each other today, standard mobile voice and text messaging has seen the least amount of growth as a method of communication between friends and family between 2015 and 2018. In contrast, messaging apps and live video chat apps have seen the highest percentage of growth (200% and 171%, respectively).

If we were able to break down that statistic even further, we’d likely see the usage of video chat rise even higher, as many messaging apps have built in video features, such as WhatsApp. Data shows that between friends and family, one in three people are video chatting at least once a week, and two in five people are video chatting more in 2018 than they did the year before.

Millennials Love Video Most

Millennials Love Video MostIt should come as no surprise that millennials – ages 18 to 34 – are taking the most advantage of live video chat. There has been a 175% increase in live video chat usage within the last three years. In fact, a quarter of all millennials use video chat in their lives every day.

And, while it might be safe to assume we have the millennials to thank for encouraging this trend, they aren’t the only ones taking advantage of this popular form of communication. The same study referenced above indicates that,

“68% of people ages 35 to 54, and 35% of people 55 and over, are video chatting more than they were one year ago.”

What’s Driving the Rapid Increase in Video Communications?

There are a few different factors at play:

1. Affordability and Accessibility

First; video communication platforms are often free and available on hardware we’re already using in our daily lives, making live video chat easy and accessible for everyone, regardless of age. With more and more people using their phones as a one-stop-shop for all their personal and business needs, it’s no surprise that 68% of live video chats and calls are happening directly on mobile devices.

However, laptops and tablets are being used as well. People are attracted to ease and convenience, and live video chat communication is checking that box for many people.

2. Personal and Business Use

personal and business use of videoVideo communication is not just taking off between friends and family, but in the business world as well. Statistics show that customers want to use live video chat apps to communicate with businesses and brands, if they aren’t doing so already. One in three Americans are currently using live video to chat with a business, and one in five Americans are video chatting with a business at least once a week.

Similar to personal usage, messaging apps and live video chat has seen the largest growth percentage as a method of communication with businesses and brands. Commercially, live video chat has grown as much as 233% between 2015 and 2018.

3. Customer Service & Tech Support

Although video communications are advancing, various industries are adapting at different rates. When looking at 10 industries, customer service has the highest demand and consumer adoption; however, there is still a lot of room for growth as far as industry application. Nearly half of all consumers say they would use live video chat to speak with customer service or technical support.

4. Recruitment, HR, etc.

Recruitment/HR, trade repairs, and insurance industries not only have a high consumer demand, but they already have a high industry application. Within the insurance industry, consumers say they would be open to using video chat to show an insurance agent property damage for a claim. Job searching is also becoming more dependent on video communication.

In fact, one in two millennials are currently using live video chat apps to interview with potential employers, and plenty of Gen Xers are interested in the idea.

Where Have We Yet to See Growth?

On the other hand, industries such as sports, financial services, and retail/e-commerce have the lowest demand and opportunity indexes for live video communications. However, that’s not to say video commination is not being utilized in those fields. Within the retail industry, over one in three consumers are using video chat to speak with sales advisors about large purchases. Consumers are also interested in being guided through fixing or replacing a part over live video chat.

As a result of the need for today’s organizations to develop engaging and interactive user experiences that remain seamless across multiple online applications, another level of live video chat technology is growing. WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) technology like OpenTok Platform enables web developers to embed real-time video, voice, and messaging across various mobile and web applications. The platform’s Live Video API helps developers to create a customized user experience, and video chat embeds allow developers to quickly add simple code to websites to enable live video streaming and publishing in no time.

Where Live Video Chat Technology Stands Today…and Tomorrow

Overall, one in three Americans are using live video chat technology to communicate with a business, brand, or service provider, which is three times more than they were three years ago. One in five Americans are video chatting with businesses at least once a week, and many more who have yet to video chat with a brand or business in 2018 reported that they will in the future.

With WebRTC functionality embedded into your website and mobile apps, we can enable custom enterprise interactive voice, video and messaging and streamline the customer experience. Are you interested in seeing how live video chat apps can help your business grow? Contact Smile MEDIA today!

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Lisa Leslie
A writer by nature, Lisa has a way with words that captures her readers' attention and drives them to action. She has intuitive writing and editing skills, in addition to 10+ years of experience in traditional, digital and social media marketing. When she's not writing, you'll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family.
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