Teens Have Money to Burn on Digital Media3 Feb, 2005 By: Judith M., Melinda S.
Teens top the list when it comes to household Internet connectivity and disposable income. Today's teens have money to spend and have come of age in an era of more media options than ever before. Entertainment platforms — from DVD players to game consoles and PCs with Internet connectivity — are part of their landscape, and this generation of 13-to-19-year-olds excels at multitasking, connecting the digital pieces to fit their lifestyle.
Nearly 30 million teenagers live in the United States, according to U.S. census data. Generation Y, which includes anyone born between 1977 and 1994, has more spending power than previous generations in this age bracket. The annual combined disposable income of teens in this age group is $172 billion, according to Harris Interactive.
DVD players and PCs with Internet access are a staple of teen households.
According to Home Media Retailing's 2004 Consumer Study, 96 percent of households with teens have a DVD player, and PC availability with Internet access hovers at about the 90 percent mark.
Multiple devices are prevalent among teens. On average, teen households have 1.8 PCs, compared to 1.6 for all households.
Teen households spend more time online. Households with kids 13-19 spend 15 hours a week online, compared to 13.4 hours for the average Internet-connected household. A 2003 study, conducted for Yahoo, indicates that multitasking is a big part of the teen experience. While online, 95 percent of teens said they are engaged in at least one other activity. Activities topping the list are listening to music (68 percent), watching TV (50 percent) and talking on the phone (45 percent).
Eighty-three percent of teen DVD households have multiple DVD playback devices, compared to 52 percent of all DVD households, according to Home Media Retailing's 2004 Home Entertainment Study. More than 84 percent of households with teenagers said they bought DVDs in the past year and 83 percent had rented a disc, according to the study. By comparison, 77 percent of all DVD households had purchased a disc and 69 percent had rented in the last year. Teen households also are more likely to connect DVDs to the Internet, with 17 percent of households with teens reported having used Web links on DVDs, compared to 13 percent of all DVD households.
When it comes to buying DVDs, teen households favor hit releases. More than 70 percent of households with 13-to-19-year-olds said they bought a hit last year. Discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Target Stores are the most likely DVD purchase location, with 68 percent saying that's where they buy. When it comes to renting, households with teens favor Blockbuster Video (45 percent), perhaps reflecting Big Blue's hard-hitting ad campaign and its commitment to stock deep on big hits.
Teen households also are avid gamers, with 80 percent sporting a game console, according to the 2004 Home Entertainment Study. These households buy and rent more games. Almost three-fourths (74 percent) of households with teens said they had purchased a game, and 65 percent had rented a game in the last year. By comparison, 46 percent of all U.S. households said they had a game console, with 47 percent saying they had bought and 54 percent saying they had rented a game in the last year.
Teen households also were more likely to have leveraged their Internet access in the game arena, with 37 percent reporting they had played video games online, compared to 26 percent of all households.