Millennials Spend More Time With Digital Than Traditional Media, But…

Experian-Weekly-Media-Consumption-by-Generation-July2014American Millennials (18-34) spend a slight majority of their weekly media time using digital devices, and are the only generation where digital media consumption exceeds traditional media, details Experian Marketing Services in a new report [download page]. But, Millennials share a common trait with their older counterparts: of the various devices available to them, TV still rules, accounting for the single largest share of their total weekly media time. For Millennials, TV captures about 25 hours of their 67 weekly hours of media time, or about 37% share. By comparison, TV accounts for 42% share of total weekly media time among all adults, with its consumption far higher among older generations.

TV is also the device with the largest reach for each generation, with 97% of all adults watching at least some TV on a weekly basis. While TV maintains significant reach across the generations, the same isn’t true for other devices and media. More than three-quarters – 77% – of Millennials own a smartphone, for example, compared to just 48% of Baby Boomers (50-69) and 16% of Silents (70+).

By contrast, the weekly reach of newspapers and magazines is significantly higher among older generations than younger ones, a trend discussed in more detail in MarketingCharts’ latest Debrief, “Advertising to Baby Boomers; The Why and How” [download page]. Indeed, newspapers emerge as an effective advertising channel for Boomers, with the study revealing the national newspapers for which they over-index the most in readership.

Baby Boomers are an important target for advertisers given their discretionary spending. As the Experian study illustrates, Baby Boomers’ aggregate annual spending on non-essentials totals more than $683 billion, almost double the aggregate figure for Millennials ($367.4 billion).

Meanwhile, although TV is the device with which they spend most of their time, Millennials – not surprisingly – are avid smartphone users. On average, Millennial smartphone owners spend roughly 14.5 hours per week using their devices, or more than 2 hours per day. Overall, they account for 41% share of aggregate time that Americans spend with smartphones, despite comprising just 29% of the population.

Some 43% of Millennials access the internet more through their phone than via a computer, with that mobile-first mentality only shared by 20% of adults aged 35 and older. As one might expect, Millennials can be found using their smartphones at a greater rate than the typical adult throughout the day. Typically, the report finds, smartphone usage by Millennials peaks between 4 and 6PM, when 69% of owners are using their devices. Millennials are even using their smartphones at the midnight hour – literally – with 28% using them between midnight and 1AM.

The report also reveals some discrepancies between Hispanic and non-Hispanic Millennials. Interestingly, Hispanic Millennials spend considerably less time with media (58 hours per week) than non-Hispanic Millennials (69 hours), while reserving a majority 52% of that time for traditional media such as TV, newspapers, magazines, and radio. Although Hispanic Millennials maintain a slight skew towards traditional media, those who own smartphones spend more time per week using them than their non-Hispanic counterparts (15.4 hours versus 14.3 hours). Moreover, Hispanic Millennials are more likely than non-Hispanic Millennials to be mobile-first, as 46% primarily access the internet via their devices.

About the Data: The data cited in the report is based on the Fall 2013 Simmons® National Consumer Study (NCS) and the Fall 2013 Simmons Connect study. The Simmons NCS is a comprehensive survey of 23,689 U.S. adults measuring in-depth consumer lifestyles, attitudes, brand preferences and more providing marketers with a complete view of the consumer.

Simmons Connect takes almost 60,000 variables measured in the Simmons NCS and adds insights into consumers’ comprehensive cross-platform media use. Simmons Connect measures 11 platforms, including smartphones, digital tablets and home computers. Generations were defined as follows: Millennials: ages 18 to 34; Generation X: ages 35 to 49; Baby Boomers: ages 50 to 69; Silent Generation: ages 70 and older.