Millennials’ Media Habits by Life Stage

Reviewed by David Alpern The new Nielsen Total Audience Report studies millennials’ changing media habits by life stage and finds that they vary sharply as their lives go through the rapid transition typical of people in their 20s and 30s. The report, released in late March, affirms that it is difficult to classify millennials as a monolithic demographic with a common set of media behaviors. Labeled Millennial Life Stages: Impact of Technology, Services and Media Behavior, the report shows how U.S. adults 18-34 are in a state of rapid transition, moving from a parent’s home, to the workforce, to their own homes, to starting a family with children. The study of millennials broke the group into three life-stage categories and found big differences in media preferences and device penetration among:

  • Dependents – those living in someone else’s home
  • On Their Own – living in their own home without children
  • Starting a Family – living in their own home with children
Each day the average person 18-34 spent four hours and eight minutes using a TV set, combining two hours and 45 minutes of watching live TV each day together with one hour, 23 minutes using TV-connected devices. Key findings include:
  • The count of Millennials 18-34 years old is second only to Baby Boomers: There are ~75 million millennials compared to ~77 million Baby Boomers.
  • 91% of On Their Own Millennials are in the workforce, 58% have white-collar jobs
  • 69% of the On Their Own segment are renters – more so than the Dependents and Starting A Family segments
  • On Their Own Millennials have the highest penetration of multimedia devices and access to Subscription-based Video-on-Demand (SVOD) services (like Netflix and Hulu), and spend the greatest amount of time with TV-connected devices. They have the lowest penetration of traditional sources of video (multi-channel subscriptions/working antenna). They spend the most time outside the home living life and thus watch the least amount of live television of the three millennial groups
  • Dependent millennials watch and use a little less live TV than the average TV Screen Usage
  • Starting a Family segment has greater multi-channel penetration than the On Their Own group (79% vs. 72%) and are otherwise more likely to have a working antenna (14% vs. 12%). This is the millennial group that spends the most time at home, thus their time spent watching and using TV is the highest