Americans really are cutting the cord. Unpublished results of the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, analyzed by Demo Memo, show a substantial drop in spending on cable and satellite television service, writes Cheryl Russell in her Demo Memo blog at a sampling of posts published in the past few weeks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The $638 spent by the average household on cable service in 2017 was 18% below the 2016 level, after adjusting for inflation, says the report. Cable has now relinquished its position as the number-one entertainment item on which the average household spends the most. Spending on pets surpassed cable spending in 2017.
Behind the decline in spending is the shrinking percentage of households purchasing service.
Just 58% of households spent on cable/satellite service in the average quarter of 2017, 10 percentage age points below the 68% of 2016 and 16% percentage points below the all-time high of 74% in 2010.
The decline in the share of households spending on cable/satellite service is occurring in every age group, with the biggest drop among younger adults...
Percentage of households spending on cable/satellite service during an average quarter of 2017 (and percentage-point change since 2010)
On an average day, says the report, 79% of Americans aged 15 or older watch television as a primary activity, meaning their main activity at the time. The percentage who watch television is lowest among 15-to-19-year-olds (73%) and highest among people aged 65 or older (89%). These facts come from a Bureau of Labor Statistics' analysis of the American Time Use Survey
The time use survey collects additional detail about the activities in which people engage on an average day records time of day, for example, and whether respondents are alone or with others. The following chart shows the percentage of Americans aged 15 or older who watch television at selected hours of the day...
For many, watching television is a solitary activity. 48% of television time is spent alone, concludes the report.
For back issues of American Consumers Newsletter, by Cheryl Russell, please visit New Strategist's web site and click on Newsletter.