The Demise of Demographics

In conjunction with survey partners Hallmark Channel and the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC), E-Poll Market Research has concluded a study of U.S. media consumption, revealing that Americans’ media behavior is most greatly affected by their stage in life, rather than demographic or economic factors.  The study, titled “Life Stage: Its Impact on the Future of Traditional and Emerging Media,” explores the attitudes and traces the distinct and often contrasting behaviors of eight major life stage groups, including Teens, College Students, Recent Grads, Single No Kids, New Nesters, Established Families, Married No Kids and Empty Nesters.

The wealth of information captured in the survey reveals that individuals in different life stages can have very similar demographic profiles but different attitudes and media usage.  For example, the 18 – 49 demographic group familiar to TV and advertising executives is made up of people in seven different stages, with College Students, New Nesters and Married No Kids comprising nearly equal proportions.  Three of the life stages have a median age of 37 or 38.  Yet when examining behavior, the life stages are distinct and exhibit clear differences.

The survey goes on to explore the definitions, distinctions and habits of each of the life stages in detail, covering such data points as financial situation, leisure activities, life satisfaction, activities on which they are spending more/less time, and usage of, and attitudes regarding a wide range of media technologies.

Implications for Media and Technology Companies

Among the questions addressed in the research, the study assesses the importance of various media technologies to each of the life stages, with a laptop as the item most difficult to give up for most groups, particularly college students at 80% saying it would be “very hard to give up.”  Meanwhile, smartphones are particularly important to Single No Kids households at 64%, and significantly less so to Empty Nesters (32%).  A DVD player, DVD subscription service, Video on Demand (VOD) and HDTV are most important to New Nesters, with Teens feeling less attachment to those technologies, while College Students are hooked on their iPods and video game consoles.  A full list is below.

About The Study

“Life Stage:  Its Impact on the Future of Traditional and Emerging Media” is a national pilot research study to examine the impact of life stages on emerging media.  Further studies will be fielded in the coming months to gain additional insight into key consumer trends that facilitate cross-industry discussions about today’s reality and the future of potential digital entertainment offerings.  For more information about life stage research, please contact E-Poll Market Research at 877-MY-EPOLL, or fill out a request form here.


  1. Dear Sir or Madam,

    Can you send me a copy of your new study “The Demise of Demographics” about life stage research, please.

    Thank you in advance.


    Matthias Sönmez

  2. This was a very interesting survey overview. As a marketing student, we are currently studying demographics and the high importance in considering the age and life stage of the target consumer. Technology is such an important part of the every-day life of most consumers over the age of 15. However, the danger comes in marketing solely to the younger crowd through technological means, while not paying as much attention to the senior adult age group that may also be interested in the product or service. I am very interested to read the whole survey and results. Thanks for posting about this.

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