Nielsen highlights mid-teens reading dip

Nielsen highlights mid-teens reading dip

Young people aged 18-25 are more interested in reading than younger teenagers, according to Nielsen Book, which has taken into account readers aged 18-25 for the first time for its annual report into the children’s and YA market, released today (20th).

In the report, Understanding the Children’s & YA Book Consumer, Nielsen surveyed readers aged 0-25 and found that those aged 14-17 are the least likely to read.

Steve Bohme, UK Research Director, said only 34% of that age group read at least once a week for pleasure. However, that figure rises to 44% amongst the 22-25s.

“One of the main factors in the drop-off is school work, although there is an attitude issue as well, but once young people reach 18 they have a renewed interest in books and reading,” he told The Bookseller.

Nielsen categorised young readers into "superfans", "distractables", "antis" and "potentials", with the biggest readers being the "superfans", who tend to be female and have an average age of 12. They collect books, as well as recommend them to their peers, and prefer print books. They also spend less time than average on mobile devices than their peers.

The biggest group is the "potentials", which account for a third of the total. This group is made up equally of boys and girls who have positive attitudes towards books but are not keen readers. They favour print books but this is the group that is most receptive to trying digital content. “With the right content, format and messaging, this is a market that publishers can grow,” said Bohme.

The other two groups -"antis" (16%) and "distractables" (20% of the total) – are both more likely to be males. Antis do not like reading, whilst distractables like reading but favour other activities.

“The fact that girls enjoy reading more than boys is a consistent pattern. Since we started this report in 2012 we have seen that females are more likely to enjoy reading than males,” said Bohme.

The report also found that reading is still popular with 0-17 year-olds, as 71% read for fun or are read to every week. However, that figure has dropped one percentage point from 2014.

The biggest decrease in weekly book reading was among the 3-10 year-olds, although for that age group book reading is still the most widespread leisure activity. Reading drops to the fifth most popular activity for the 11-13s and drops out of the top nine for those aged 14 and over.

The number of those aged 0-17 who watch YouTube is 56%, up 18 percentage points from last year, the proportion watching TV and films on mobile devices is 43%, an increase of 19 percentage points. The use of games apps, a weekly activity for 57%, was up 23 percentage points.