Survey reveals Irish people’s attitudes towards 5G, data privacy, smartphone usage and streaming services 
Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

The latest release from Deloitte's annual Digital Consumer Trends Survey reveals insights into Irish's people's attitudes towards things like 5G, data privacy and smartphone usage.

Back in May and June of 2020, Deloitte carried out its annual Digital Consumer Trends Survey, which looks at the ways in which consumers all over the world and in Ireland interact, use and think about technology.  

Over the past few months Deloitte has been releasing its insights in a series of publications that explore different themes and just released its data on entertainment streaming and subscription services, which makes for interesting reading. 

We take a look at this latest release as well as previous ones which looked at attitudes to 5G, data privacy and smartphone usage.


With most of us stuck at home due to Covid it’s no surprise that we’ve been turning to TV, movies and streaming services to keep us entertained.

According to Deloitte, 63% of Irish people now have access to a paid video-on-demand (VOD) streaming service, up from 59% last year. However access has increased significantly in the over 65 age group, increasing from 27% to 43% in the past year alone.

Netflix remains the most popular VOD subscription service with 56% of respondents having a Netflix subscription, up 2% compared to 2019. Amazon Prime Video was the next most popular paid service on 18% (up 9% on last year). These were followed in popularity by Disney+, which only launched in 2020, on 19%, Now TV at 8% (up 3%) and YouTube Premium on 6% (up 1%). 

28% reported that they would be happy to watch some ads on VOD services if they could get a subscription for half price. However a third (33%) of Irish people said that they would prefer to pay the full subscription fee and not have to watch any ads at all.

Younger respondents were notably less tolerant of ads, with 47% of 18-24s and 48% of 25-34s preferring to pay full price for no ads at all.

Check out this blog for the definitive guide on streaming platforms in Ireland to learn more about what’s on offer.

Almost half (46%) of people said they had access to a music streaming service, up 4% on 2019. Spotify was the most popular music streaming service at 33%, up 2% on 2019. This was followed by Amazon Music at 9% (up 4%) and Apple Music at 8% (up 1%). Google Music was on 6%, the same as last year. 

30% of us had access to some type of a newspaper or magazine subscription, a decrease of 2% year-on-year. 

The Irish Times does well with 13% saying they have a subscription, well ahead of the Irish Independent on 8% and the Sunday Business Post and Financial Times on 2% each.

However less of us are paying for cloud storage for our videos and pictures. Only 15% of us are paying for services like iCloud storage or Dropbox compared to 19% in 2019.

Are we willing to switch to 5G yet?

A previous report looked at Irish people’s thoughts and attitudes to 5G.  

Ireland compares favourably in terms of 5G rollout to many countries. The fact that the three main network operators (3 Ireland, Eir and Vodafone) already have active 5G networks with coverage ranging from 30% - 50% of the Irish population is a big positive for 5G development here. 

However only 5% of respondents are currently using 5G but 24% say they would switch as soon as it’s available. This still compares favourably with the UK though, where only 2% of respondents claim to currently use 5G.

Nearly half (49%) of all 5G users are in the Dublin area and in the under 35 age category, which is somewhat unsurprising. Meanwhile 31% of 5G users are with Vodafone, 24% are with Eir and 20% are with Three. 

Meanwhile over half of respondents (56%) think they’ll have better mobile connectivity if they move to 5G.

However it’s not all plain sailing. 

64% of respondents feel they still don’t know enough about 5G and the benefits it brings while a fifth (20%) believe that there are health risks associated with 5G; this figure being higher among the under 35s.

While it is concerning that 20% (mistakenly) believe that there are health risks associated with 5G, this is still lower than in some other European countries surveyed. Notably, 36% of respondents in Austria, 34% in Belgium and 28% in Italy believe that there are health risks associated with the technology.

To learn about 5G and all it offers you can read our guide here

Are you curious about what mobile providers are offering 5G deals at the moment? Take a look at this blog post where we outline what 5G mobile plans are now available in Ireland.

Data privacy

Irish consumers appear to be more relaxed about companies accessing their data with those “very concerned” about personal data usage decreasing significantly from 41% in 2019 to 29% in 2020. It’s a similar trend in the UK; dropping from 47% to 24% in 2020.

During a period with increased news coverage around data breaches this might seem unusual.

Awareness may be one reason behind the decrease. While overall awareness that companies use personal data either “all of the time” or “some of the time” has remained consistent at 80% the survey does show that more than 86% of respondents have taken some kind of action due to data privacy concerns.

These actions include:

  • Restricting access or adjusted permissions to information for apps / phone (70%)
  • Deleting / avoiding using an app, online account or device (65%)
  • Changing my online browsing behaviour (64%)
  • Starting using more secure apps / services (50%)

Women appear to be slightly more driven to take action over men, with 87% of women having taken some kind of action, compared to men at 84%.

Smartphone usage 

Our addiction to smartphones is ever so slightly waning.

Smartphones are still the most used daily device with 93% of us using one each day, however this compares to 98% in 2018.  

Meanwhile daily usage of laptops has increased from 69% to 76%, while daily desktop usage has fallen from 66% to 59% - reflecting the working from home mandate since 2019 no doubt.

Around 33% of us look at our phones more than 50 times a day while 17% look at it over 200 times a day. That’s nearly 8 times an hour or every 7.2 minutes – and that is based on a 24-hour day with no sleep! 

A third of us check our phones within the first five minutes of waking up and over 70% of us do so within the first 30 minutes.

Perception of smartphone overuse varies with age, the younger we are the more likely we are to feel that we use our smartphones too much, with two thirds of 18 – 34 year olds feeling that they overuse their phone. 

The survey shows that 53% of respondents use WhatsApp on their mobile phones at least daily, followed by Facebook (41%), Instagram (27%) and Twitter (17%).

Outside of social media and reading the news, when asked what people regularly use their phone for, checking bank balances (62%), browsing shopping websites (52%) and purchasing a product online (43%) were the top answers. However the laptop still remains the preferred device for making online purchases. 

What do you think?

Are you surprised by any of the answers? Get in touch and let us know - we'd love to hear your thoughts!

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