Cord cutters do not ditch cable TV to be rebels but usually for lack of satisfaction with the current TV system.
But does that mean everyone is cutting the cord? And are they being served by the alternatives they are moving to? How many cord-cutters are millennials, and are baby boomers joining the boom?
You can only find out answers to these questions, and more, in our carefully curated cord-cutting statistics, facts, and trends.
Top 8 Cord Cutting Statistics (Editor’s Pick)
- 6.2% of US households cut the cord in Q3 2022.
- American males were likelier than females to cut the cord between 2020 to 2022.
- Most (79.6%) US cable TV viewers in 2020-2021 were White.
- As of 2022, 11% of American viewers had never bought a cable subscription.
- 40% of US cord-cutters in 2022 chose Netflix to get TV content.
- 53% of US cord-cutters in 2022 returned to cable TV in under a year.
- 6.43% of Americans believed cable TV was easier to use than streaming services.
- 4.16% of US adults left cable TV for streaming services to avoid ads.
General Cord Cutting Statistics
1. 27% of global respondents in 2021 preferred streaming services over traditional TV till 2022.
The November 2021 survey showed 20% of respondents voting to use live TV services in the next 12 months, while another 20% chose to use on-demand video services.
2. 19% of surveyed Americans in 2022 had cable plans in the past, but not anymore.
There was also a 3% group who used streaming services only but added a cable plan.
3. 5% of surveyed American adults in 2022 did not watch TV.
Yet another 5% had neither cable TV nor streaming services.
4. The majority (45%) of American cord-cutters in 2022 were 18-34 years old.
In contrast, most 2021 cord cutters (38%) were aged 55 and above.
But in 2020, 18–24-year-olds were still the majority, accounting for 40% of all cord cutters in the year.
5. 44% of US adults who never used cable services (as of 2022) were 18–34-year-olds.
Likewise, the majority (55%) of the entire population who never used a cable service were male. Furthermore, 20% earned between $50,000 – $99,999 annually.
6. 6.2% of US households cut the cord in Q3 2022.
6.1% of households cut the cord in Q2 2022, and 5.1% were in the same shoes in Q1.
In fact, US households cutting cable subscriptions increased every quarter from Q2 2018 to Q2 2020.
7. As of January 2022, 1 in 3 Americans planned to cut the cord.
Likewise, households using pay TV in the USA fell from a 100.5 million peak (in 2014) to new lows of 73 million in 2021.
8. Pay TV had a 66% penetration rate in US households in 2022.
However, 47% of households had cut the cord or never used pay TV services.
9. In 2021, 4 in 5 TV content consumers streamed their preferred content.
According to a US survey of over 2,800 respondents, only 2 in 3 paid for a traditional TV plan.
10. 53.33% of returnee cable cutters (as of 2022) stayed away from the service for less than a year.
However, 46.67% went over a year before rejoining the fold.
11. 1.15% of US cable cutters surveyed in 2022 did not subscribe to streaming services either.
12. Sports drove most subscribers to stay with paid/cable TV over streaming services across five countries.
The 2021 data shows that sports content was 100% of the top 50 most viewed cable programs in Australia and Germany.
Here’s how other countries fared.
|Country||Sports % of Top 50 Programs Watched on Cable||Sports % of Top 50 Programs Watched on Broadcast/Free-to-Air|
Cord Cutting Demography Statistics
13. 22% of US respondents preferred streaming services 9% more than traditional TV services.
Data gathered in November 2021 showed that only 13% of respondents planned on using live TV services more in the coming 12 months (till 2022).
Even on-demand video (14%) fared better.
14. Weekly TV consumption in the US dropped from 90% in 2018 to 79% in 2021.
In contrast, video streaming surged from 55% to 66% in the same timeframe.
On-demand streaming services also saw a 10% jump (from 68% to 78%).
15. 72% of American 18–24-year-olds consumed video streaming content weekly in 2021.
This made them the most significant consumers among other age groups up to 55+.
The 25–34-year-olds tied with 35-44-year-olds in second place, with 71% (each) of this age group also watching video streaming services once weekly (at least).
|Age Group||% Using Video Streaming Services|
16. 55-year-old Americans were the least likely to cut the cord in 2021.
Only 55% of surveyed Americans in this age range used video streaming services weekly. In contrast, 69% used on-demand video services weekly, while 88% were stuck with traditional TV media for weekly viewing.
17. 66% of Americans across all age groups used video streaming services weekly in 2021.
Another 78% used on-demand video services weekly, while 79% continued with weekly live TV consumption. This pushed video streaming to third.
18. 25–34-year-old Americans were the likeliest age group to use video-on-demand services weekly in 2021.
At 84%, they beat the share of 35–44-year-olds (83%) and 18–24-year-olds (82%) who rounded up the top three.
19. Over 3 in 10 Americans in 2022 had cable and video streaming subscriptions.
32% of Americans kept their cable TV plans and had access to Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, or other streaming services.
20. American males were likelier than females to cut the cord between 2020 to 2022.
59% of US cord-cutters in 2020 were male, reaching 61% in 2021 and 2022.
21. 32% of Americans who never used cable (as of 2022) also never streamed live TV content.
In contrast, 15% of never-cord users in 2022 streamed live TV once in 2-3 weeks.
10% streamed similar content daily, while 11% enjoyed live TV streams multiple times daily.
22. 20% of Hispanics’ TV time in July 2022 was spent watching cable TV.
In contrast, 43.6% of this group’s TV time was spent on streaming services in the same month.
23. English-dominant, Spanish-speaking, and mixed-language Hispanics all streamed more TV than watched cable TV in 2022.
Data collected in July 2022 shows the following:
|Hispanic Category||Cable TV Share of TV Time||Streaming Share of TV Time|
|Spanish and English-Speaking||18.8%||43.7%|
24. A resurgence in linear TV viewing happened in the US, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland between 2020 and 2021.
59% of surveyed US respondents watched linear TV weekly in 2020, up to 61% in 2021. The growth across other mentioned countries can be found below.
25. Linear TV weekly viewing fell in the UK and Germany from 2020 to 2021.
In 2020, 79% of audiences in the UK and Germany watched linear TV content per week. By 2021, the UK weekly viewing audience declined to 69%, while the German audience was 72%.
26. As of 2021, most weekly TV audiences in 4 out of 7 countries watched linear TV to get news content.
73% of Germans watched linear TV (including cable TV) to get news content in 2021. This was followed by Denmark (71%), Sweden (67%), and Norway (67%).
27. 66% of Finnish linear TV viewers in 2021 planned to keep watching till 2026.
13% were sure they would not be watching linear TV any more by then, while 21% were still trying to figure out where they stood.
28. Half of Sweden's linear TV watchers in 2021 would keep watching till 2026.
That left 28% confident about leaving the linear TV model before then and another 22% still making up their minds.
The table below shows a distribution of linear TV viewers in select countries and where they see themselves between 2021 – 2026.
|Country||% Staying on Linear TV Till 2026||% Exiting Linear TV Before 2026||% Unsure of Their Decision|
29. The US contained the majority (84%) of 15–55-year-olds streaming/downloading content than watching linear TV in 2021.
In contrast, 54% of respondents in this age range could be found on linear TV.
While 84% of UK respondents also preferred streaming and downloading content, 62% watched linear TV weekly.
30. Finnish people watched linear TV more than streamed or downloaded content in 2021.
65% of Finnish weekly TV viewers downloaded or streamed content, compared to 83% who watched linear TV instead.
31. Only 38% of German internet users in early 2022 watched TV via cable.
Of 1,000 surveyed participants, 40% used internet streaming apps to watch TV content, 39% stuck with satellite TV, and 9% chose DVB-T.
32. 5% of German weekly TV viewers in 2022 spent all their TV-watching time on streaming services.
41% of the surveyed weekly German viewers spent up to 50% of their TV-watching time on streaming services. Another 33% spent 50 – 99% of their TV-watching time on streaming apps.
Conversely, 21% never use streaming apps, choosing linear TV options (like cable and satellite) instead.
33. 52% of Germans believed it was possible to use non-cable TV services exclusively in the future.
This group split into 24% who believed getting TV via the internet alone is “very well” possible, and 28% who only thought it conceivable.
However, 8% would rather not get their TV services exclusively online.
34. 4% of Germans internet users in 2022 got their TV content exclusively via the internet.
18% were still deciding whether they would want their TV content solely delivered over the internet soon.
35. Most (79.6%) US cable TV viewers in 2020-2021 were White.
Surprisingly, White Americans also accounted for the majority (75.1%) of streaming video-on-demand users in the US.
The US race distribution for cable TV and SVOD viewing is shown below.
36. 56% of US adults in 2021 got their TV services via cable or satellite access.
In contrast, 76% were in the same shoes in 2015, showing a 20% decline over the six-year range.
37. 39% of surveyed US non-cable TV users in 2021 never had a cable subscription.
But 61% had a cable subscription before cutting the cord.
Cord Cutting by Age Statistics
38. 23% of US baby boomers cut the cord between 2020 – 2021.
They were only behind Gen X (27%), millennials (25%), and Gen Z (25%).
39. 54% of Baby boomers in 2021 chose streaming services to watch what everyone else was talking about.
But 25% of this age group went with cable TV plans to do the same.
40. 98% of Gen Zers, the most of any group, streamed TV content in 2021.
95% of millennials were also streaming fans, followed by 88% of the Gen X US population and 71% of boomers.
41. 51% of baby boomers with a streaming subscription subscribed to more streaming services in 2020-2021.
In fact, baby boomers were 46% as likely as the younger generations to maintain 3-5 streaming services simultaneously.
42. Only 2% of baby boomers who cut the cord in 2021 were not happy to have done so.
Thus, 98% of boomers were glad they did. Likewise, 90% of baby boomers admitted that streaming services were easy to use.
43. Americans aged 18-29 watching cable TV dropped by 31% between 2015-2021.
The share of this age group was 65% in 2015 but declined to 34% in 2021, representing the least percentage of cable viewers among all age groups.
44. 46% of US TV viewers aged 30-49 got their TV content via cable in 2021.
This was a 27-percentage point decline from 73% in 2015.
The other age groups fared as tabled below.
|Age Group||% Using Cable TV in 2015||% Using Cable TV in 2021|
Cord Cutting Adoption Statistics
45. Traditional TV viewing was the least (67%) among American 18–24-year-olds in 2021.
Traditional TV viewing increased linearly with the age groups, as shown in the table below.
|Age Group||% Viewing Traditional TV weekly|
46. As of 2022, 11% of American viewers had never bought a cable subscription.
Instead, they only used video streaming subscriptions.
Conversely, 13% had a cable TV plan but no streaming service subscription.
47. Over 24 million cable subscribers indicated a likelihood to cancel between February and August 2022.
This was from over 100 million subscribers in that period.
In contrast, more than 40 million subscribers indicated an interest in canceling in 2021 from a 140+ million subscriber pool.
48. 21% of surveyed American cable consumers in 2022 indicated the likeliness to cancel on/before August 2022.
Only 11% indicated unlikeliness to cancel, while 9% said they were “very likely” to stop paying for cable. Another 34% were very unlikely to cancel.
49. 19% of US cord-cutters in 2022 used live TV streaming services multiple times daily.
However, 18% of the surveyed audience used such services once a week, while 13% had yet to use them.
50. In 2022, most (23%) US cord-cutters used live TV streaming services several times weekly.
This indicated growth from only 15% of users who claimed the same in 2021 and 17% of respondents in 2020.
51. 6% of American cord-cutters surveyed in 2022 streamed live TV once per week.
That grew by 1% from 2021 (5%) and 2020 (5%).
52. 39% of surveyed US cord-cutters in 2021 watched the same or more TV content on streaming services.
Likewise, cord-cutters averaged 22 hours weekly on streaming services, while pay TV viewers spent 19 hours watching TV content weekly.
53. 66% of TV audiences chose streaming services to watch something everyone else was talking about.
In 2021, only 22% chose traditional TV channels to watch something everyone was discussing.
54. 42% of sports viewers in 2021 consumed sports content via streaming services.
Another 62% of the US respondents got their sports via pay TV services instead.
Furthermore, 75% of those who streamed sports were satisfied with their option, compared to 80% of cable TV viewers.
55. 61% of cord-cutters watched the news multiple times weekly in 2021.
And about two-thirds planned to keep their news-watching frequency till 2022.
Cord Cutting Migration Statistics
56. 82% of cord-cutters in 2022 migrated to on-demand video streaming services.
However, roughly 42% of the cord-cutters were back on cable TV to watch sports, news, politics, and entertainment shows.
57. 40% of US cord-cutters in 2022 chose Netflix to get TV content.
In second place was Amazon Prime Video, with 29% of the market.
Disney+ (20%) rounded up the top three.
58. In 2021, 35% of cord American cord-cutters could be found on Netflix.
26% chose to get their content from Amazon Prime Video, while another 14% went with Hulu.
In contrast, Netflix also led with a 38% share of the 2020 cord-cutters, but Amazon Prime (23%) had a smaller share then, and Hulu did better (16%) than in 2021.
59. 31% of cord-cutters in 2022 chose YouTube as their preferred daily streamer.
YouTube has been on top for American cord-cutters from 2020 through 2022, accounting for 24% of daily streamers in 2020 and 19% in 2021.
60. 77% of American cord-cutters in 2022 listened to podcasts.
This number declined from 67% in 2020 to 61% in 2021 before rising again in 2022.
61. In 2022, Netflix was preferred by 34% of Americans who never got cable (ever).
In second place was Amazon Prime, popular among 1 in 4 (25%) viewers in this group. Disney+ rounds up the top three with a 13% share.
62. YouTube was the preferred daily streaming service for never-cord users in 2022.
Netflix was up there with 21%, while Hulu managed a 15% share but was still behind YouTube’s 27% share.
63. 8.94% of cord-cutting Americans in 2022 replaced their pay TV with Netflix.
Next in line was Hulu (8.56%), with Amazon Prime (8.13%) closing the top three.
64. YouTube TV was the preferred Live TV streaming alternative for cord-cutters in the US.
The 2022 survey data revealed that 6.57% of all US cord-cutters replaced their cable services with YouTube’s Live TV option. It was followed by Discovery+ (5.67%) and Apple TV+, preferred by 5.41% of respondents in that period.
The top seven live TV options preferred by cord-cutters surveyed in 2022 are shown below.
|Live TV Service||Preference Among Cord Cutters|
|Hulu + Live Tv||3.83%|
65. Latinos not using cable TV in July 2022 were likelier to be on Netflix.
Of the 43.6% of TV time Latinos spent streaming, 12.6% was spent on Netflix. YouTube accounted for 12.2% of this share, while Hulu was the notable platform in third (with a 2.8% share).
Cord Cutting Resistance Statistics
66. 53% of US cord-cutters in 2022 returned to cable TV in under a year.
Out of 500 surveyed Americans, 46% stopped paying for cable at some point.
However, over half of this group was back with cable TV within a year.
67. As of 2022, 39% of surveyed Americans who never cut their cable stayed on to watch sports, news, and entertainment shows.
These were the same programs that brought back 37% of cord-cutters who started paying for cable again.
68. 19.5% of US respondents kept their cable TV services to watch sports.
According to a survey of 500 Americans paying for cable TV in 2022, another 11.66% stayed on for entertainment (e.g., award) shows.
The table below shows a breakdown of the top five reasons for keeping never-cord cutters.
|Watching entertainment shows||11.66%|
|Slow internet for streaming||10.09%|
|Watching live news||9.53%|
|Cost of multiple streaming services||8.02%|
69. 8.23% of US adults in 2022 could not cut cable since they were forced to subscribe by their internet/phone service provider.
In contrast, another 6.71% had cable because it came free with their internet/phone service provider.
70. 6.43% of Americans believed cable TV was easier to use than streaming services.
In contrast, 5.79% of cord-cutters surveyed in the same year (2022) claimed cable was challenging to use.
71. 6.43% of surveyed cable TV users wanted to avoid investing in streaming equipment such as Roku, Apple TV, and smart TVs.
In 2022, another 7.99% who had already cut the cord returned due to slow internet restrictions hampering their streaming experiences.
72. 92% of linear TV (including cable TV) viewers in 2021 saw excessive ads.
This slightly declined from 93% of audiences feeling the same way in 2020.
The table below shows the prevalence of linear TV viewers who saw excessive ads in 2020 and 2021.
Cord Cutting Financials
73. Almost 3 in 10 American cord-cutters in 2022 earned between $50,000 - $99,999 yearly.
Only 24% of US cord-cutters were in this wage bracket in 2021, lower than the 26% of respondents in the same position in 2020.
74. US Cable TV revenue dropped $30 billion in six years.
Cable TV pulled in $104 billion in annual revenue in 2015 but slumped to $74 billion in 2021. In contrast, streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services generated $25 billion in the USA in 2021.
75. Cord cutters paid an average of $49 per month in 2021 for TV content.
In comparison, surveyed traditional TV watchers paid an average of $121 monthly in the same year.
76. 8.47% of cord-cutting cable returnees surveyed in 2022 cited streaming services’ cost for returning.
Another 6.67% returned to cable since they got the service for free via their telephone/internet carriers.
77. OTT media rights jumped 18% across the top 5 European markets in five years.
OTT media rights accounted for 5% of TV viewing rights in 2018, increasing to 23% in 2021.
78. Comcast added 5 million new subscribers to Peacock TV in Q3 2022.
However, it still reported $614 million in losses, especially as its streaming service plans were less expensive than the pay TV plans.
Cord Cutting Impact Statistics
79. Comcast, a cable TV service company, lost 440,000 customers in Q4 2022.
This exceeded the 227,000 TV video customers who left the service in Q4 2021.
80. Comcast lost 11.2% of its traditional TV video subscribers between 2021 and 2022.
In other words, the cable TV service lost 1.67 million subscribers in 2021.
But in 2022, even more (2.034 million subscribers) cut the cord.
81. Streaming accounted for 34.8% of all US TV viewing time in July 2022.
This was also the first time (ever) that streaming would surpass cable viewing, which managed a 34.4% share.
82. Cable TV viewing dropped 2% in the USA between June and July 2022.
This led to a 0.7-point TV viewing market share loss for the industry.
Looking at year-on-year data, cable suffered an 8.7% decline in viewership between July 2021 and July 2022. Thus, representing a 3.3 points market share loss for this category.
83. Sports engagements on cable TV services dropped 15.4% between June and July 2022.
Comparing year-on-year data shows that engagement rates on cable TV sports slumped 34% between July 2021 and 2022.
84. Hispanics aged 18+ averaged only 13 hours and 31 minutes weekly on traditional live TV in July 2022.
In comparison, the US population aged 18+ spent more time (20 hours and 13 minutes) on traditional live TV content. In the same month, Hispanics in the USA streamed 33.5 billion minutes of TV content weekly.
Cord Cutting Reason Statistics
85. 4.16% of US adults left cable TV for streaming services to avoid ads.
And according to this 2022 survey, 5.04% had stopped watching the news on cable TV anyways, justifying their cord-cutting.
86. 3.37% of US cable subscribers canceled access in 2022 for being in an unsupported location.
But another 2.73% of adults did so to avoid being bound by a contract.
87. 91% of 18–29-year-old US adults who did not use cable in 2021 preferred to access their content online from anywhere.
53% of this age group claimed they did not watch TV often, justifying their decision never to get cable TV. Another 57% complained about the cost of cable TV.
88. In 2021, 55% of American viewers preferred video streaming services for being able to watch anything anytime.
Another 40% liked access to shows and content they did not get on traditional TV.
89. 28% of American viewers preferred video streaming to watch content anywhere.
The 2021 research also uncovered another 21% of Americans that preferred the picture and sound quality from streaming services.
90. 38% of American cord-cutters in 2021 did so because video streaming was cheaper.
Likewise, another 16% got their streaming services complimentary as part of a contract.
91. Cable TV’s cost motivated 31.02% of American cable watchers to cut the cord in 2022.
Another 8.03% believed they did not use the cable service enough to justify the cost. Furthermore, a select 6.53% group did not get enough satisfaction from the cable TV service.
Other Cord Cutting Statistics
92. 33% of advertising video-on-demand viewers in 2021 were also cord-cutters.
In contrast, 21% of subscription video-on-demand viewers in the year were cord-cutters.
93. Only 6% of TV streamers in the US planned on canceling their plans between 2021 – 2022.
Of another 2022 surveyed group that had canceled cable, 5.04% did so because they stopped watching cable TV news.
Another 3.81% left since they stopped watching entertainment shows via their cable provider, while 3.71% cut the cord once they stopped watching political content (debates, trials, etc.) on the service.
94. In 2022, persuasion was crucial in cord-cutters' decisions to leave cable.
3.9% of surveyed cord cutters in 2022 were persuaded to do so by their child(ren). Another 3.87% were motivated by their parents, while spouses persuaded 2.63%. Friends were responsible for the decision of 2.13% of the cancellers.
95. As of 2022, 44% of US respondents agreed they would still watch linear TV in the coming five years.
34% were sure they would no longer watch linear TV, while 22% were still on the fence.
The Age of TV Surgeons?
The younger generation is severing the digital umbilical cords to cable companies faster than ever.
We have also seen a push to recapture this audience as more cable providers move to video streaming (e.g., Comcast’s Peacock TV). However, streaming costs are lower than cable fees, and these companies cannot earn the same across these channels.