MTV Italy conducted a study to better understand purchase behaviors of 18-44 year-olds across 14 product categories. The study also helped to deeply explore how the MTV audience thinks and feels about shopping and how much money this audience has available.

Italy has 21.5 million 18-44 year-olds, representing 37% of the total population. 60% of these 18-44 year-olds fall into the higher socio-economic classes. They represent an important and valued part of the population because of their purchasing power, which is why it is critical for MTV to maintain a strong relationship with this segment of the population.

On average, 18-44 year-olds in Italy have a discretionary budget of 614 Euro. The budget for people in this age group can vary depending on their age and where they live. 18-44 year-olds in Italy spend most of their discretionary budget on groceries and transportation by car or motorbike, followed by clothes, dining out, and travel. The economic crisis had a smaller influence on groceries and transportation because 18-44 year-olds in Italy view these categories as necessary for everyday life.


The purchasing habits analyzed in the study can be grouped in three macro-areas:

Basics– necessary goods and services for basic needs (eating, communicating, clothing, toiletries, etc.)

Ancillary – less necessary goods and services such as private transport, electronics and personal and body care (haircuts, manicures, etc.)

Leisure – goods and services intended for entertainment or social purposes; these goods enable consumers to express themselves and experience gratification.

The findings of the study helped to identify 4 types of consumers, each with a particular set of socio-demographic characteristics:

EXPLORERS: 5.4 million (25%) with a monthly budget of 1,000 Euro for consumer goods. They are an upmarket audience, very well-educated and tend to be at the older end of the age range. Therefore, the travel and leisure categories are very relevant. Explorers spend more of their budget on basic necessities such as groceries and clothing.

BASICS: 5 million (23%) with a monthly budget of 720 Euro. They are adults who have their own families. They usually spend their money in a pragmatic way on goods to be shared within the family. They spend most of their monthly budget on transportation and groceries. Family co-viewing serves as one of the most important drivers of their consumption.

FOCUSED: 5.7 million (27%) with a monthly budget of less than 500 Euro. This group consists of mainly women and is the closest to the sample average in terms of socio-demographic characteristics. They spend the majority of their budget on groceries and personal care.

CAREFREE: 5.4 million (25%) with the smallest monthly spending budget – approximately 320 Euro. Since most of them are very young and still live with their parents, their families take care of their primary needs, enabling them to spend the majority of their budget on less necessary goods and services. Their socio-demographic characteristics, interests, and passions influence their purchases.

MTV Italy Audience

The study shows that MTV Italy attracts parts of all of these groups of consumers and communicates with them in a fun way.

The MTV audience has a high discretionary budget in Italy: 650 Euro compared with the 614 Euro budget of the sample average, 15% higher than the average DTT audience and close to that of the PAY TV one (MTV broadcasts on Free DTT in Italy). This audience tends to spend money in all product categories with no desire to eliminate spending in any of these categories. In the average month, MTV viewers purchase items in 11 of the 14 categories analyzed, which is more than that of DTT and SKY viewers.

MTV Italy viewers not only spend money on items within the basics category, but also spend a significant amount on items in “ancillary” and “leisure” categories.

The findings regarding the levels of spending support the previous findings: While the MTV audience spends a similar amount to the sample average on necessary items, the distinctive element is the higher presence of MTV viewers in the “leisure” and “ancillary” categories.

In terms of spending in the ancillary and leisure categories, a higher percentage of MTV viewers, compared to the whole sample, claim that they would not decrease their current level of spending in these two categories.

Methodology: the study had a sample of 810 people and was conducted in collaboration with Doxa.

Written by Morena D’Incoronato, Head of Research at MTV Italy in Milan with help from Suzanne Adelman, Intern at VIMN International in New York.