There’s a reason that millennials are so hard for advertisers to pin down: Their media consumption is in constant flux, given that adults in that 18-34 demo are in “rapid transition.” That’s according to Nielsen’s Q4 2015 Total Audience Report, released this morning, which delved into the media consumption habits of advertising’s most elusive, and often mystifying, demographic.
The report found millennials who have started a family spend significantly more time watching TV—an average of an hour per day more than those who don’t have children or still live with their parents.
“It’s not about age, it’s about life stage,” wrote Glenn Enoch, evp, audience insights for Nielsen, in the report. “18-34 year olds are not a monolithic group with a common set of technologies or behaviors. Their lives are in rapid transition as they join the workforce, move into their own homes and start families.”
The Total Audience Report, which is not to be confused with the Total Audience Measurement ratings that Nielsen is rolling, broke millennials into three separate life stage groups: Dependent Adults (those who are living in someone else’s home, usually a parent or parents), On Their Own (those who are living in their own home, with no children) and Starting a Family (those living in their own home, with children).
For example, 97 percent of 18-year-olds live in someone’s else home, usually a parent or parents. But 90 percent of 34-year-olds live in their own home, while 60 percent of those have children. In the middle of the demo, roughly one-third of 26- and 27-year-olds falls into each of the three life stages.
Those three groups had very different media preferences during Q4 2015: