30+ Cord Cutting Statistics [Updated with 2021 Trends]

When was the last time you watched traditional TV?

If you can’t answer immediately – then it’s been a while. In 2021, that’s not surprising.

Maybe you are one of those people who don’t have cable TV at home?

Or you don’t own a TV set because you simply don’t need one?

Or you just watch Netflix and that works for you?

Today we are here to explore the depths of cord-cutting statistics. Nowadays, the number of people who have renounced traditional TV with 600 channels is on the rise.

How many cord-cutters are there exactly?

Mind-Blowing Cord-Cutting Stats

  • In July 2020, 8% of people in the US planned on canceling their cable TV services.
  • In Q1 2019, US pay-TV providers lost 1,325,000 subscribers.
  • Disney+ has seen an increase of 24 million users in 2020.
  • By 2022, 55.1% of Americans will have cut the cord.
  • 78% was the penetration of pay-TV in the US in 2018.
  • Only 2 out of 3 US households pay for cable TV.

Perhaps you’re wondering:

Why is cord-cutting such a big deal in 2021?

The thing is:

Cord-cutting in the US reached record levels this year.

But let’s first get back to basics:

What is cord cutting?

To cut the cord means to cancel your paid TV subscription. Many people nowadays are cutting the cord. Why? There are pros and cons of almost everything in life. That’s why we made a list.

Pros and cons of cord-cutting:

Pros:

  • Allows you to control everything you are watching
  • You can save money with a cheaper service like Netflix instead of expensive cable TV
  • Can watch simultaneously on more than one device

Cons:

  • Can be pricey if you need more than one subscriber
  • You won’t be able to watch local channels
  • You need to leave some of your data online, so you’re more likely to benefit from identity theft protection services.

More and more people nowadays prefer streaming TV to cable or satellite. In the US the numbers are staggering:

How many cord-cutters are there in the United States?

As usual, we rely on statistics to give us the full picture:

1. In 2018, there were 33 million Americans who cut the cord.

(Source: Tech Crunch)

  • In 2017, the number of cord-cutters in the US was 24.9 million.
  • In 2018, 18.8% of subscribers claim they plan to cut the cord in the US.
  • In 2016, the number of cord-cutters in the US was 16.7 million. By 2021, US cord-cutters will amount to at least 40.1 million.

Some people say cutting the cord was one of the biggest decisions of their lives. One thing is for sure:

The main reason for cutting the cord is the price of pay-TV services. The amount of money US households set aside for cable may be a deal-breaker for a lot of users. Households that need to make some savings resort to cord-cutting.

However:

Before you cut the cord because traditional TV is too expensive for you, you need to crunch some numbers. Make a list of the subscriptions for streaming video services you wish to replace pay TV with.

And after that – calculate the total price and compare it with what you pay for cable. Think a bit about the future as well. Maybe today you don’t want a Hulu subscription, but you know, Castle Rock’s second season is on its way… (After IT Chapter 2, who knows what Bill Skarsgård might be up to). In other words – the allure of TV shows is an important factor.

If your decision is driven by financial considerations – just choose the one that costs less.

In other words, cutting the cord is a way to save money, but you need to do the math before you make a big decision.

Moving on to:

2. The cable industry loses 14K subscribers each day.

(Source: BGR)

3. In Q1 2019, US pay-TV providers lost 1,325,000 subscribers.

(Source: Broadband News Broad)

One of the best benefits of cord-cutting is the ability to control your viewing experience. First things first – with cable you need to sign some kind of contract. (In most cases it’s a 2-year contract). Imagine paying $100 only for TV for the next 24 months. That’s $2,400 right there.

When you sign up for cable or satellite TV, you need to do a credit check. That’s one more benefit of streaming – no cable checks. Also, no rental equipment. You know, the box whose remote control you keep losing. The costs add up. No wonder so many people decide to cut the cord.

4. Only 2 out of 3 US households pay for cable TV.

(Source: Forbes)

If a US subscriber can save up to $1,200 per year by cutting cable TV, well… the future seems bright for cord-cutters.

If you want to cut the cord, though, don’t rush. There are people who run directly to their pay-TV provider and cancel their accounts. And they start researching the alternatives after that. Not a cool idea!

Start with the research instead. There are a lot of streaming video options out there. Test the water first before you jump!

5. In Q4 2018, the biggest cable TV provider in the US – Comcast, had only 22.0 million subscribers.

(Source: Statista)

Did you know: The lowest percentage of cord-cutters is in the 50-59 age group.

Now, who are the cord-cutters?

Most cord cutters are millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X. Which says a lot about the future of traditional TV…

6. 1.2 million defections from cable TV are detected in Q3 2018.

(Source: USA Today)

7. 186.7 million Americans watched cable or satellite TV in 2018.

(Source: Tech Crunch)

Traditional pay-TV is on shaky ground. 2019 cord cutting statistics say so. There are so many opportunities – Netflix, Hulu, Roku… the list goes on.

Streaming is about choice, and not everyone can benefit from it. It is a good idea to try streaming video services for a couple of weeks. Many of them offer free trials. That’s a promising opportunity – a way to give you time to adjust to streaming.

Next question:

How many Americans have cable TV?

8. There were 119.9 million households in the US with cable TV during the 2018/2019 season.

(Source: Nielson)

Cable TV vs. Streaming TV

Which one would it be for you? Or maybe you’ll keep both? Some people even have the option to use an antenna, but they decide to go for the streaming package anyway.

Now, in case you were wondering:

How many people have dropped cable in the US?

Well:

9. 59% of Americans have already cut the cord.

(Source: West Monroe)

When it comes to cord-cutting, you have one more important thing to figure out before you cancel your cable subscription. Namely:

Where am I going to get my internet from?

If you choose streaming over cable/satellite, you will need an excellent connection. Calculate in advance how many users you anticipate to have in your household and choose a company that can give you the best deal.

Make sure you pay attention to both the upload and download speed of the internet connection you are about to sign up for. Download speed is important for streaming, of course. But what happens if you need to upload some photos or videos online?

Now, the two main options in the US are phone and cable companies. That’s one more thing to figure out. The thing is that cable companies generally provide a faster internet connection.

Be a smart consumer! Don’t let them upgrade you to a plan you never wanted or even knew about. Knowing what you want is a consequence of research done well.

Moving on to:

10. 78% was the penetration of pay-TV in the US in 2018.

(Source: Statista)

Traditional TV is still in power. Yes, it may not be as tall, dark, and handsome as it used to be years ago when the internet, let alone the internet of things, didn’t exist yet, but still. In the years to come, though, things might change…

And what about streaming TV. How is it doing nowadays? Well:

11. In 2018, Netflix spent $13 billion on content.

(Source: West Monroe)

Let’s pause for a second and think about:

What are the most popular streaming video services?

Did you know: In 2018, there were more than 130 video streaming services.

If there is such a wide variety of options, how do we choose? Now:

Make sure you familiarize yourself with the services and prices. The list of online channels and providers is worth spending some time to examine. Also, ask the opinion of other cord-cutters you know. Chances are they can share their experiences with you and give you a few tips before you decide.

Next:

12. By 2022, 55.1% of Americans will have cut the cord.

(Source: Tech Crunch)

The pay-TV landscape in the US is pretty fragmented. There are tons of options for customers who are unwilling to cut the cord. Now:

13. 56% of pay-TV subscribers say they keep paying for cable because it came in a bundle with their internet.

(Source: Variety)

Cord-Cutting Statistics and Streaming Services Facts Amid The Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many had to stay indoors, and since one of everyone’s favorite pastimes is watching TV, people had lots of time to do that in 2020. With streaming services becoming very popular in recent years, people had the opportunity to binge-watch their favorite TV shows. So, what do you think is the percentage of people who have switched from TV to streaming services?

Let’s take a look at these cable cutting statistics.

14. In 2020, eMarketer predicted that 6.6 million people will have cut the cord.

(Source: Fortune)

15. In Q4 of 2019, AT&T suffered a total loss of 1.2 million subscribers.

(Source: Variety)

16. By 2024, eMarketer expects that 15.4 million more households will switch to streaming services.

(Source: Fortune)

The number of households who are cutting the cord will undoubtedly increase in the future as streaming services offer more content and more affordable prices.

The following statistic will show us how many Netflix subscribers there are in 2020.

17. In Q2 of 2020, Netflix got 10 million new subscribers globally, and 3 million of those subscribers were Americans.

(Source: Protocol)

That’s not all, however. What do you reckon, how many Netflix subscribers were there in the US in 2019 and 2020?

18. In Q3 of 2020, Netflix had over 73 million subscribers in the US.

(Source: Statista)

And once they subscribe, they get their money worth. It’s predicted that the average daily Netflix-viewing time will jump to 115 minutes, from 100 minutes in 2019. If you have a teen who seems to be enjoying Netflix a bit too much, parental control software can help you limit their screen time.

19. There were 167 million Netflix subscribers worldwide in 2019.

(Source: Statista)

These Netflix statistics suggest that the majority of Netflix users come from the United States, but people all around the world are starting to recognize the charms of Netflix.

And how about Disney+?

20. Disney+ has seen an increase of 24 million users in 2020.

(Source: Protocol)

Although Disney+ saw an enormous jump in the number of subscribers, whether or not it will become as popular as Netflix only time will tell.

Next on our list is Hulu. We just saw that other streaming services had a significant increase in the number of users. So, how many subscribers does Hulu have?

21. Hulu had 28.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

(Source: Statista)

22. In Q4 of 2020, Hulu already had 36.6 million subscribers.

(Source: Statista)

Seeing Hulu’s statistics, it’s obvious that more and more people started watching this streaming provider.

Let’s go back to cable TV subscribers. What percentage of Americans still have cable in the US in 2020?

23. There are 77.6 million people who still pay for cable television.

(Source: Fortune)

Regardless of the popularity of different streaming services, cable TV is still very common. Some people use both, and some choose to pay for just one service instead.

When it comes to people dropping cable, look at the following statistics.

24. During the first six months of 2020, AT&T TV saw a decrease of 206,000 subscribers.

(Source: Protocol)

25. There are 720,000 individuals left who watch AT&T TV.

(Source: Protocol)

Many cable TVs have lost subscribers due to the affordability and greater appeal of streaming services; AT&T wasn’t the only one who had losses.

What about the numbers related to cable subscribers’ decline?

26. In July 2020, 8% of people in the US planned on canceling their cable TV services in the next 12 months.

(Source: Statista)

27. People aged between 18 and 34 make up the biggest part of those who wanted to cancel their television subscriptions.

(Source: Statista)

28. More than 50% of people who are 55+ years old didn’t want to cancel their TV subscriptions.

(Source: Statista)

From these statistics, we can conclude that cable subscription decline is the highest with younger people, more than with any other age group.

Cable Subscription Statistics

The following statistics are related to cable subscription numbers. Take a look at how many people still used cable television services in 2020.

29. In January 2020, 45% of people reported that family members in their house still watch TV, in comparison to 2019 when 47% of people had a cable television at home.

(Source: Statista)

30. 74% was the penetration rate of pay-TV in the US in 2020.

(Source: Statista)

31. In 2019, Comcast and AT&T were ranked first, with more than 20 million subscribers each.

(Source: Statista)

These cable TV subscribers statistics show just how much people still rely on television services.

How much are you ready to pay for a streaming service? The next statistic will show how much people are willing to pay for this service.

32. 59% of individuals in the US do not want to pay more than $20 for streaming services.

(Source: Fox Business)

US consumers are more likely to choose a free or less pricey streaming service with ads instead of a more expensive ad-free streaming service.

With so many streaming options, it’s understandable that people can’t afford to pay for multiple services, which perhaps explains the above statistics.

The table below will show us the percentage of US households who are planning to cut the cord, those who never subscribed, and the ones who have already cut it.

Age group Percentage
18-34 74%
35-54 64%
55+ 56%

Number of cord-cutters over the years. 

Year Millions
2017 24.9
2018 33
2019 39.3
2020 45
2021 55.1

The following table will show you the percentage of subscribers streaming providers had throughout 2020. 

Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Q3 2020 Streaming provider
38% 37% 35% Netflix
21% 21% 20% Hulu
8% 9% 9% HBO
6% 6% 6% Starz
17% 17% 18% Disney+

Here we are, guys. Our list of cord-cutting statistics is at its end:

Key Takeaways

Canceling your overpriced cable or satellite TV contract might be a challenge. However, nowadays more and more people choose to take that step and enjoy the freedom of streaming TV.

If you are considering cutting the cord, make sure to research the alternative services and prices first. Set a trial period and calculate whether switching to streaming video services makes sense financially for you.

Bottom line:

Cord-cutting statistics clearly state that more and more users are switching to streaming TV. However, traditional TV is still going strong. And a lot of users get their internet in a bundle with cable.

We hope you have enjoyed our selection of cord-cutting stats today, everyone.

Have a great day!

See you around.

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