Insights

Economy Affecting Overall Consumer Spending, But TV-Related Spending Relatively Spared
Article

Economy Affecting Overall Consumer Spending, But TV-Related Spending Relatively Spared

Consumers are still investing in home entertainment despite cutting back in other areas, according to Nielsen’s SportsQuestTM Survey.  The telephone survey, conducted among 1,865 respondents in November and December 2008, asked about a number of questions with respect to changes in their spending habits and how those changes may have affected how they viewed TV-related spending such as cable, direct satellite, video on demand/pay-per-view and DVD purchases and rentals.

The difficult economic conditions have forced most Americans to think about how they spend their money, so it is little surprise that 63 percent of those surveyed said that they had changed their spending habits.  26 percent said that they had cut back TV-related spending, primarily by purchasing fewer video on demand and pay-per-view movies/events (16%) or making fewer purchases and rentals of DVDs (19%).  11 percent of people surveyed said that they had altered their cable/direct satellite subscription package in some way, while 3 percent said that they had cancelled their subscriptions altogether.

Overall, more men and women aged 18 to 34 said that they had cut back on TV-related spending, and that same age group also cancelled their cable/satellite subscriptions at higher rates than other age groups. Households with kids changed their spending habits slightly more (66%) than the group as a whole, as did African-American, Asian and Hispanic Households (70%, 75%, 77%, respectively).  Hispanics also cancelled their cable/satellite service at a much higher rate than other groups, with 13 percent of those households ending their service versus the overall average of 3 percent.

“While some kinds of discretionary spending, such as travel and car and clothing purchases, have taken a significant hit, TV-related expenses have been spared significant cuts at this point.  Consumers may reduce the number of movies they rent, or perhaps downgrade their service, but overall it appears that TV continues to be almost a necessity rather than discretionary,” said Pat McDonough, senior vice president of Planning Policy & Analysis at Nielsen.

To read more about this and other related data, click here for Nielsen’s SportsQuestTM Survey.