According to the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM), the COVID-19 pandemic caused a strong growth of OTT services in Portugal. In addition to the increased consumption of streaming video on demand, the performance of voice and video calls, attendance at courses and the purchase of online products stood out.
In 2021, 80% of Internet users made voice or video calls, reaching 10 percentage points more than in 2020 and 27 more than in 2019. Portugal exceeded the average of the 27 countries of the European Union (EU27), with 7 points percentage more, moving to the ninth position in the ranking of use of this type of service. If we consider the total number of individuals and not just Internet users, the penetration of these services would be 66%, exceeding the European average (+1 percentage points) and moving from position 23 to 14 in the ranking of the EU27. In 2019, Portugal ranked last in this ranking.
Instant messaging was used by 91% of Internet users. The level of use of this type of application in Portugal was 12 percentage points above the EU27 average, occupying the sixth position in the respective ranking. If we consider the total number of people, and not just Internet users, the penetration of this service in Portugal would be 75%. From this perspective, Portugal was 5 percentage points above the European average, ranking 12th in the EU27 ranking.
In 2020, around 34% of internet users subscribed to video-on-demand streaming services (+20 percentage points from 2018), with Portugal in 15th position in the EU27 ranking. If the total number of people and not just Internet users is considered, the penetration of these services in Portugal would be 26% in 2020 (+16 percentage points compared to 2018), moving Portugal to position 16 in the ranking of the EU27.
Online news reading, participation in social networks, online music and Internet banking were other services with participation levels above 50% among Internet users in Portugal. The use of social networks, access to online information and online civic and political participation in Portugal was significantly higher than the EU27 average. Internet banking and e-commerce were more popular in the EU27 than in Portugal.
Younger people, those with higher education, students and with higher incomes were more likely to use the various OTT services analysed, as in the EU27 average. However, for some of these services, year-over-year growth was higher for groups with lower usage, such as retirees and people ages 45 and older on Internet voice and video calls and the unemployed and people ages 55-64 using instant messaging.