updated 05:00 pm EST, Thu January 19, 2006
iTunes usage skyrockets
Traffic to Apple's iTunes website and use of its iTunes application has skyrocketed 241 percent over the last year, from 6.1 million unique visitors in December of 2004 to 20.7 million in December of 2005, reaching nearly 14 percent of the active internet population across the globe. A recent study by Nielsen NetRatings found that teens are disproportionately represented among iTunes users; 12 to 17 year-olds are nearly twice as likely to visit the iTunes website and use the application as the average internet user. iTunes users are also more likely to be male, according to the study; the iTunes website traffic is 54 percent male and 46 percent female. "The rapid growth of iTunes is an important phenomenon in the online media marketplace," said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics for Nielsen NetRatings. "Consumers have clearly indicated that they are eager to control their own music libraries, one song at a time," Gibs said. [updated]
iTunes users' preferences
iTunes users also display identifiable brand preferences, according to the study. "Their favorite car make is Volkswagen, which they are 2.2 times more likely to own than the average internet user." Other car makers favored among iTunes users include Audi and Subaru.
The alcohol of choice amongst Apple music lovers is hard cider, followed by imported and domestic beer, according to Nielsen NetRatings.
iTunes users displayed specific magazine-reading habits as well; they are 3.3 times more likely than average to read Wired, 2.6 times more likely to read Rolling Stone and 2.5 times more likely to read FHM.
When watching television, iTunes users flock to the Cartoon Network at 1.4 times the average rate, while HBO and BBC America saw 1.3 and 1.2 times the average rate, respectively.
"As networks begin to decide what types of programs to either produce or distribute through iTunes video, they should match the TV audiences' offline purchase and media consumption behavior with that of the iTunes users to maximize the success of video downloads," Gibs said.
Average visitation to iTunes
The study showed that roughly 35.7 million home and work internet users visited at least one of Apple's company-owned sites or launched an Apple company-owned application during the month of December, 2005. Each person spent, on average, a total of one hour, one minute, and 46 seconds at one or more of Apple's sites or using its applications during the same month.
In November of 2005, MacNN reported that Apple led all computer manufacturers in terms of unique visitors with 4.9 million. Shortly afterward the company led all computer hardware e-commerce sites with 4.5 million visitors, topping Dell.com by 53 percent. In the very same month Apple was dubbed the fasting growing site on the internet among the top brands, showing over 50 percent year-over-year growth and outpacing Google growth--which ranked number two--by nearly two times.