The Holidays Are Coming to Town and Shoppers Are Tuning to Local TV

The Holidays Are Coming to Town and Shoppers Are Tuning to Local TV

For many U.S. consumers, the colder weather means one thing: Holiday season is approaching. It’s also a pretty joyous time of year for broadcasters, advertisers and retailers, who all seek to leverage media in order to reach a consumer who is in the spirit of giving.

According to Nielsen’s latest Local Watch Report, consumers in different parts of the U.S. access media in different ways. And knowing these different habits could help those across the media industry—from local TV affiliates to small businesses to agencies that operate on smaller scales—refine their strategies moving into the holidays.

For example, the report found that in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, consumers spend the most time connecting with live TV at over four-and-a-half hours per day. These same markets, however, have some of the lowest smartphone penetration—below 80%—among the top designated market areas (DMAs). In comparison, Dallas, Portland and Denver rank highest for mobile use and boast over 87% smartphone penetration.

When we look at multicultural consumers, especially Hispanics and African-Americans, live TV continues to reign supreme. Insights based on the top 10 Hispanic markets show that Hispanic households watch more than three hours of live TV each day; however, they rank lowest when it comes to watching time-shifted TV.

African-American shoppers love watching live TV and usage remains highest compared to other demographics. Of the top 10 African-Americans markets, seven averaged more than five-and-a-half hours of live TV daily with Dallas and Philadelphia averaging more than six hours.

The Holiday’s Top Shoppers

The report also considered the holiday shopping season—from pre-Thanksgiving sales to Cyber Monday—to take a look at a highly coveted consumer category dubbed “Gift Splurgers.” These consumers say they like to shower their loved ones with gifts and see themselves more as spenders rather than savers. Understanding where and who these eager holiday shoppers are—as well as their media habits—can be key for retailers.

While 62 million, or 26% of all U.S. adults, consider themselves Gift Splurgers, retailers are most likely to find them in Miami and Tampa. In fact, 31% and 29% of adults in these markets fall into this generous group, respectively. While Denver ranks low among all adults, the Mile High City is top for Millennial Gift Splurgers with 40% of these young shoppers residing there.

Multicultural consumers account for 36% of all Gift Splurgers—17% for Hispanics, 13% for African-Americans and 6% for Asian-Americans/others. And, regardless of consumers’ socio-economic status, the research shows that Gift Splurgers are proportionally represented across all income levels.

Super-Spenders Love Local

Perhaps one of the most important findings in this analysis is that marketers can reach this coveted group of super-spenders through local media. Gift Splurgers spend five hours a day watching traditional TV, making broadcast TV an important way to reach them with 85% having watched in the past week. Local news is another great way to connect with this group as typically 64% of Gift Splurgers tune in to local news.

Inside the Mind of a Gift Splurger

More than $500 million in TV advertising is expected in November from popular gift categories including toys, video games, electronics and jewelry. Marketers must stand out to reach Gift Splurgers who will be purchasing the latest toys and video games for their children or electronics and jewelry for their loved ones. These shoppers are typically willing to pay top-dollars for high-quality merchandise, they make impulse purchases and they like to indulge their children. Celebrity endorsements and brands that are active in social media are also appealing to Gift Splurgers.

Although the holiday shopping season does not “officially” start until the day after Thanksgiving, advertisers have begun to engage holiday shoppers and spenders earlier and earlier each year. Whether it’s an impulse buyer in Detroit or a generous holiday spender in Miami, advertisers could do well to identify splurgers in their markets and ensure that their brands are on their shopping list.

For additional insight into the media habits of consumers across the U.S., as well as “Gift Splurgers,” download our latest Local Watch report. For more holiday insights, visit our Holiday Headquarters.


The insights from this article derived from various services including Nielsen Local TV View (NLTV), NPOWER Nielsen Custom Data, Mobile Insights and Nielsen Scarborough USA+.

  • NLTV provided insights regarding the overall average time spent per day, average time spent viewing per day by Hispanics in the top Local People Meters (LPM) markets and average time spent viewing per day by African Americans in the top LPM markets. The surveys took place in May 2015 and focused on persons 25-54.
  • NPOWER was used for insights regarding SmartTV capable and enabled households. The data reflects household scaled installed percentages based on September 15, 2015.
  • NPOWER was leveraged to survey installed count of homes with access to subscription video on demand service. Data reflects household scaled installed percentages based on September 15, 2015.
  • Nielsen Scarborough USA+ the surveyed responses from 49,043 adults 18+ who agreed somewhat or completely with: “I like to shower my loved ones with gifts” and “I am more of a spender rather than a saver.” The survey was conducted between August 2013 and September 2014.
  • Nielsen’s Mobile Insights survey analyzed smartphone penetration for persons 13+ during May 2015 vs. May 2014. It also provided data regarding smartphone penetration among Hispanics and African Americans persons 13+ for May 2015.
  • Data based on Nielsen’s Mobile Insights survey, a monthly survey of 30,000+ mobile subscribers aged 13+ in the U.S. Data is collected primarily online and also via a supplemental Spanish language phone survey targeting Hispanic respondents aged 18+. Mobile owners are asked to identify their primary mobile handset by manufacturer and model, which are weighted to be demographically representative of mobile subscribers in the U.S. Smartphone penetration reflects all models with a high-level operating system (including Apple iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry).