Holiday 2020: 3 Key Takeaways for a Streamer-First Marketing Season

If you’ve thrown out your traditional advertising playbook this year, you’re not alone. At Roku, we predicted that 2020 would kick off the Streaming Decade, when consumer viewership and consumption would shift to streamingBut no one could have imagined the change we’ve already experienced this year, which accelerated shifting behaviors and disrupted entire industries.  

For the first time ever, Americans now spend more time streaming than watching traditional television. One in three households surveyed in Roku’s Cord Cutting Study 2020 have gone cordless, choosing streaming over traditional TV.   

As advertisers look for new strategies for the holiday season, we wanted to understand how consumers were planning to stream, research, and buy during the busiest shopping season of the year. We partnered with the Harris Poll on the 2020 Holiday Consumer Shopping Survey to understand the holiday streaming landscape this year.  

Here’s what we found:  

1. Streaming Audiences Plan to Spend More

Most consumers said that they still plan to spend the same or more this holiday season. Those who stream are going to spend one-third more than non-streamers. On average, streamers in the survey said that they planned to spend $921.47 during the holidays, while non-streamers estimated $672.93.  

This indicates that streaming audiences may have more spending power than non-streamers.  

2. More than Two-Thirds of Streamers Will Buy Online  

Many consumers remain safety-conscious and plan to do most of their holiday shopping online. Among streaming audiences, 79% said that they will do most of their holiday shopping online. Just about half (55%) of non-streamers plan to do the same.  

Streamers may spend more time online than non-streamers, which is why many of them will choose to shop online this season, too.  

3. 85% of Households Now Stream

The Harris Poll Consumer Holiday Shopping Survey also found that streaming has become pervasive across the majority of households and generations. When asked whether they stream television or not, the Harris Poll found that:  

  • 72% of boomers stream 

  • 55% of consumers 74+ stream  

  • 96% of Millennials stream 

  • 98% of Gen Z stream 


There’s been a dramatic uptick in hours streaming, too. The survey found that average streaming hours increased 19% year-over-year, while average traditional TV viewing hours decreased by 13%. In fact, millennials now spend twice as much time streaming as they do watching traditional TV.  

Reaching Streamers During the Holidays  

The survey showed that streaming has become a regular feature of most householdsNearly half (47%) of streamers surveyed said they subscribe to three or more channels. Six in ten millennials subscribe to at least three streaming services.  

This holiday season, advertisers will need to find a way to connect with the right audiences when and where they’re streaming. Not only that, the consumer journey must be reimagined – if a customer sees a streaming advertisement, what’s their next step? Do you have a call to action in your creative? Are you able to measure the results? Can you reach them across every service with one ad?  

Advertisers know where consumers are spending their time. Now, the question is how to reach them, whatever channel or service they’re streaming.  


For an in-depth look at the streamer-first holiday season, download the full report here.  

The Roku 2020 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report was conducted in conjunction with The Harris Poll, a global market research firm with over 50 years of history in polling. This survey was conducted online within the United States in August and September 2020 among 2,008 adults that reported plans to shop this holiday season. The survey results were weighted for age, gender, region, urbanicity, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, household income, and/or socio-economic status to be nationally representative. Unless otherwise specified, all references to groups (such as Americans, U.S. households or Millennials) refer to the members of such group surveyed in the Roku/Harris Poll Study.