SAN JOSE, CA: A majority of US consumers use their smartphones to view TV or movies purchased or streamed online, according to new research.

The Digital Goods Economy Survey, from online payments company PayPal, questioned 10,000 consumers in ten markets and reported that the number of digital media consumers is growing as online marketplaces become more convenient, devices become more accessible, and storing and streaming content on one device becomes more reliable.

In the US, specifically, it found that 58% of consumers purchasing or streaming movies or TV series online in the previous three months preferred to watch this content on their phones. And 86% had used that device for listening to streamed or purchased music online.

Smartphones led tablets, the next most popular choice, by a large margin the report added.

Regardless of where the content was being consumed, mobile was driving purchase across both verticals – digital music and movies/TV – the study said.

Thus, almost 70% of movie/TV series consumers had made a purchase on their mobile device, while 72% of digital music consumers purchased music on their mobile device.

And that preference for mobile, PayPal emphasised, necessitates a simple checkout process for consumers.

"The new digital economies that have emerged in the entertainment industry have changed everything from where content is consumed to consumer marketing to how the content creators themselves are monetising their work," said Melissa O'Malley, Director, Global Initiatives at PayPal.

The ability to consume content on their phones means that just 12% of US respondents now prefer to have physical copies of their music; the majority prefer to either own all their music and store it digitally (39%) or stream or subscribe to their music so they have access to it on the go (28%).

The research also suggests that, having tried streaming services, whether video or music, people tend to stick with them; less than half had cancelled a video streaming subscription after less than twelve months; and half of those using music streaming services had kept an active subscription for a year or more.

Data sourced from PayPal; additional content by Warc staff