BLOG | by Sara Eddleston

World Cup viewing habits across the world

– Why size doesn’t matter and why TV is still king

With the FIFA World Cup already halfway through, we thought we’d take a look at the viewing habits of some of the competing nations. Given that the World Cup takes place only every four years, it’s a great opportunity to benchmark how people are watching and how that varies from country to country.

When it comes to a major sports event, the most popular way to watch in each of the 11 countries we looked at (see chart below) remains at home, on television. Given the increasing fidelity with which pictures are captured (HiSense ULED, anyone?), it makes sense that TV is still the go-to hardware for the World Cup. In fact, more than two-thirds of people watch at home on TV in all but two of our countries (Saudi Arabia and Egypt).

The next most favoured devices for World Cup following are laptops and mobiles, with an average of 13% across our 11 countries using each of them to follow the tournament. And bringing up the rear are tablets, with an average of just 6% choosing the device – proving that size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to being a football fan.

These figures vary significantly by country, of course. Those in MENA nations are more than twice as likely to follow on their phones as the general public in other countries. MENA viewers are also more likely to follow on their laptops – for example, Saudi Arabians are more than three times as likely to follow on these devices than the general public in England or France. So FIFA partners should be wise to this when it comes to their activation campaigns.

When it comes to social media, Facebook dominates World Cup following. An average of 8% of people across the markets where we polled are following via the platform, a much higher figure than for Twitter (3%), Instagram (2%) and Snapchat (2%).

Again, though, these figures vary significantly across markets. 16% of Tunisians are tuning in via Facebook, compared to just 2% of those in England. Twitter’s biggest market share comes in Egypt (at 11%), while Saudi Arabia provides the biggest audience for Instagram and Snapchat (5%).

All of these differentials just go to show the importance of locally-collected data, informing locally-sensitive plans. All we should take for granted right now is that whatever country you’re supporting, a big TV in the home is still king.

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General Manager

Sara has over 20 years’ experience in the global market research industry. Since joining SMG Insight in October 2016 she has lead the consumer insight division, maximising the benefits offered to clients through the company’s advanced range of research techniques and its unique partnership with YouGov. In March 2018, Sara moved in to the position of General Manager.



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