What US millennials spend on media

Worthy of applause.
Worthy of applause.
Image: HBO
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Millennials, Gen Ys, or whatever you want to call people born between the early 1980s and 2000, were the first generation to grow up with the internet. Which means they were also the first generation to naturally expect to be able to access to vast swathes of music, film and TV content without needing to pay for it.

Source: Deloitte TMT predictions, 2015
Source: Deloitte TMT predictions, 2015

Yet despite a reputation for being comfortable with piracy and disinterested in buying content, this age group actually does spend serious money on media. In fact, consultancy Deloitte predicts that millennials (18 to 34 year olds) in North America will spend some $62 billion on film, television, music, and other content this year.  To put that in context, it’s bigger than the entire internet advertising market in the US and Canada, Deloitte says. 

Based on a total millennial population of 83 million across both countries, this works out to an average of $750 each. (It’s worth noting that this figure excludes the cost of internet access, which one would need to consume most of this content). “The reality is that millennials are spending less on traditional media than they did in the past, and less than older generations, but they are still spending,” Deloitte says in the report.

As you can see in the table, pay TV (the dreaded cable bundle) is the single biggest cost. While $316 on cable each year works out to just $26 a month on average. That may seem cheap, but the analysis assumes that only 80% of millennials living away from home have cable, and that the bill is split among 1.7 people.

The second biggest spending category is music, with the bulk of the spending ($100) on live events, leaving just $25 for downloads and streaming services (which normally cost $10 a month).

Computer games ranked third; according to the report, two thirds of the age cohort consider themselves “regular” or “avid” gamers. Surprisingly, a decent chunk of the $750 content bill will be spent on books, nearly as much as what millennials will spend on movies.