Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Consumer Stats You Can Use

By Cory Treffiletti

I've said it before and I'll say it again: to become a success in marketing, you need to know everything you can about popular culture and consumer behavior!

Time magazine last week had a special issue devoted to the second part of this philosophy called "America By The Numbers." This issue was dedicated to examining how our consumer landscape is changing and what behaviors are exhibited by the modern American. The issue was fascinating, and I wanted to share with you some of the information which was included and what I feel the impact of this information will be on digital marketers.

. There are 303 million people in the United States. Only 10% of U.S. households have more than 5 people, versus 21% in 1970. This means that more people are venturing away from home and the "traditional family unit" is changing now that the Baby Boomers have kids that have "left the roost." For media, that means the television and other media habits change to reflect more of individual interests rather than those of the family unit as a whole.

· Approximately 40% of Americans are "on the move" during the two-hour "rush hour," which is comprised of people driving to work, taking the bus, taxis, motorcycles, carpools and children riding buses to school. 107 million people drive to work alone. That means there is a lot of time for accessing time-shifted and location-shifted media via iPods, iPhones, PSPs and laptops.

· The median household income in 2005 was $48,201, but appears to be growing slightly. The problem is most people in America don't feel it. The rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting poorer, which skews the data to show an overall increase. As a result, luxury goods and higher ticket items can be impacted, as there are a fewer people making a larger position of the wealth, and therefore a smaller target audience to speak to.

· People in advertising sales appear to be among the happiest one-third of employed Americans; with the unhappiest people by job being gas station attendants (they only make approximately $17,750 per year).

· In the U.S., 1% of the total population makes more than $350,501 per year, while 0.01% earns more than $9.6 million per year. What is disturbing about these facts is that the 0.01% with the most income accounts for approximately 5.1% of all U.S. income.

· The average American sees five to eight movies per year. The average U.S. household has more TVs than people (2.73 TVs versus 2.6 people per household). This means that, try as we might TV, is still king, and "sight, sound and motion" still sells!

· 71% of U.S. households have an Internet connection, translating to about 31 million homes without access to the Internet. 42% of Americans say they go online and work from home. That means the lines between work and home are continuing to blur, as recently examined when results were published about consumers' work habits and the penetration of BlackBerrys and similar devices.

· The average American goes online 2.1 times at work and 1.2 times at home each day. He/she visits an average of 6 domains per day and spends an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes online between work and home. That means that although the Internet is large, our personal realms are small.

· Americans spend an average of $390 billion/year in restaurants versus $364 billion in the grocery store. That means... that we like to eat out a lot.

The point is that by understanding what the data means, we can hypothesize ways to speak to the audience in a unique, engaging and effective manner! I highly recommend you visit Time magazine's Web site and search for "America by The Numbers" to find more interesting nuggets of knowledge.

Happy hunting!