Since 2012, Nielsen Book has undertaken a detailed annual survey to investigate children’s and young adults book reading and buying habits in the context of other leisure and entertainment pursuits. For the first time in 2015, in addition to the nationally representative sample of 1,500 parents of 0-13 year olds and 500 14-17 year olds, the survey included 1,000 18-25s, to help Nielsen investigate how habits and attitudes change as people move from the teenage years to adulthood.
In 2015, the proportion of 0-17s reading books for fun/being read to on a weekly basis dropped a further 1 percentage point over 2014, with significant increases in the number of children using YouTube and – in particular – watching TV/films on mobile devices (numbers watching on TV have also increased). Since 2012 the proportion using YouTube has increased by over 18 percentage points, with watching of TV/films on devices up 19 percentage points – and the use of games apps up a massive 23 percentage points.
Since 2012, the biggest decrease in weekly book reading has been among 3-10 year olds, although books still ranks as the most widespread leisure activity for 0-10 year olds – before dropping into fifth position for 11-13s and out of the top 9 activities for those aged 14+.
For the first time, Nielsen Book has segmented 0-25s into groups, which will further help publishers to better understand their consumers. ‘Superfans’ – the very heaviest readers – tend to be female, appear in all age bands, but have an average age of 12. They are collectors and recommenders of books, particularly like printed formats and spend less time than average on mobile devices. The ‘Distractable’ (fairly heavy book readers but who tend to favour other activities) and the ‘Anti’ groups are more likely to be males, with the ‘Anti’ group being older (14 on average) and the ‘Distractables’ younger (11 on average). Finally, the ‘Potential’ group – who have positive attitudes towards books, yet tend to be lighter readers – are as likely to be boys as girls. This group currently favours printed books, are particularly keen on adaptations and is the most interested in trying digital reading in future; with the right content, format and messaging, this is a market that publishers can grow.
In addition to looking at reading, device use and other leisure activities, the report also explores in detail how book discovery, sources of books, purchase influences, genre preferences and YA author readership vary between the different reading segments and by age.