Surprising Information on Who Goes to the Movies and Why We Need to Know

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We in the toy business are highly dependent upon the success of the movie industry.  With so many movie tie-ins as well as so much creative interaction between the studios and the toy companies, we all need to pay close attention to what were once arcane concepts like box office results.  So, in case you were wondering what kind of year the movie theatres had in 2011, you can learn a lot from this headline from The Wrap:   “Global Box Office Up, Domestic Box Office Down in 2011”

But who goes to the movies?  Box office figures are one thing, but don’t we need to know who is actually seeing these movies?  Shouldn’t our movie tie-in toys reflect the tastes of those who go to the films?   I think so and for that reason I wanted to share some of what I learned from the article about US movie goers:

10% of the population purchases 50% of the tickets.  That 10% is classified as “frequent movie goers.”  One gets that designation by going to the movies at least once a month.  .  If you think about it, all you need to do is cater your toys to that vital 10% and you increase your chances of success.  But, who makes up the 10%?

Latinos (Hispanics) attended an average of 5.3 movies; Caucasians went to an average of 3.5 movies African Americans an average of 3.7. 

Latinos make up 24% of “frequent movie goers.”  What makes that number impressive is that they constitute only 16% of the population. 

56% of “frequent movie goers” are Caucasian.  Caucasians, however, make up 65% of the population.  

The article did not break out child attendance but we do know that the Hispanic birthrates are higher than for most groups.  I did some research and found a piece I wrote in September of 2011 with the headline:  “Hispanics and Asians Make up 98% of Population Growth in Big Cities.”  Here is what it said:

The non-Hispanic white population is aging… Hispanics, by contrast, are much younger, with a

relatively large part of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years… About half of all recent births were to minority parents…”

Based upon information like this, it would appear that the impact of Latino consumers on movie tie-in toy buying decisions is disproportionately high.  Bottom line, the toy industry needs to pay close attention to these numbers. For starters, a few words of Spanish on the package might just be in order.






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