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To the Editors of American Demographics:

Do you have some demographic and psychographic information on kids who skateboard?

Ann Rogers


New Orleans, La.

Dear Ann:

There's so much to tell you about skateboarders, I'm not quite sure where to begin. Let's start with the basics: According to market research firm American Sports Data, Inc. (ASD), there are 12.5 million skateboarders today, up an astounding 60 percent from 1999, when there were a mere 7.8 million of them on the nation's sidewalks and streets. It's no surprise that skateboarders are predominantly young and predominantly male. According to ASD, 85 percent of those who have used a skateboard in the past year are under age 18, of those, 74 percent are boys.

For the sake of simplicity, we'll conduct our psychographic analysis on skateboarders who are 12- to 17-years-old and use data from Simmons Market Research Bureau's latest in-depth survey of 3,237 teens conducted from April 2000 to May 2001. Because there are often distinct psychological differences between casual skateboarders and die-hard board-heads, we will also differentiate between the 15 percent of teens who said they skateboard once in a while or sometimes and the 8 percent who said they skate every chance they get.

At first glance, skateboarders seem to fall in line with what is deemed stereotypical of the skateboarding culture. According to Simmons, avid skateboarders (those who say they skate every chance they get) are significantly less likely than their peers to agree with the statement “I get along with my parents.� While 74 percent of non-skating kids ages 12 to 17 and 70 percent of casual skaters of the same age say they get along with their parents, only 62 percent of avid teen skateboarders say the same. Perhaps that's because many skaters (69 percent of avid skaters and 56 percent of occasional board riders) say their ideas are “very different� from those of their parents; 45 percent of non-skateboarding teens feel their ideas are similarly divergent.

But individualistic thinking doesn't necessarily translate into a slacker attitude so commonly assumed to be held by skateboarding teens. According to Simmons, teens who skate are just as likely as those who don't to say “it's important to work hard at school� and that they “enjoy going to school.� They're also generally on par with other teens when it comes to seeking higher education: 86 percent of casual skaters and 83 percent of avid board-heads say they would like to go to college, compared with 86 percent of non-skaters who say the same.

Whatever you do, don't call skaters conformists. The survey suggests that many of today's trendsetters and early adopters may have been board-heads in their youth. Simmons reports that avid skaters are 32 percent more likely than the average teen to say they are always the first to try new things and 58 percent more likely to consider themselves experts in new technology.

Indeed, skaters — casual and avid alike — are more likely than other teens to own a MiniDisc player, a Digital Compact Cassette player, a digital audio tape player and a pager or beeper. Furthermore, 52 percent of avid skaters say they are very stylish and 31 percent say they like to stand out in a crowd, compared with 45 percent and 24 percent, respectively, of all teens.

And just where do skaters turn for the latest standout fashions? Specialty stores — not the mall — are the hippest places to find skater garb. According to Board-Trac, a Trabuco Canyon, Calif.-based research firm specializing in marketing to young people who participate in board sports, 59 percent of skaters say they go to specialty stores when shopping for clothing, shoes and accessories, compared with 5 percent of all teens. Still, business at such stores must be good. Board-Trac reports that the typical teenage male avid skater spends about $95 a month on clothes, and the teen female avid skater spends even more: $109. Even on the halfpipe, women outspend the fellas.


To the Editors of American Demographics:

Can you help me find a list of the top televised events in the United States every year — events such as the Superbowl, Oscars, Grammys, etc.?

Jenny Ferguson

Overland Park, Kan.

Dear Jenny:

If you looked at only the top five broadcast television events of last year, you would find that four of them were sporting events, be it the Super Bowl or a World Series game or a playoff match. Only the Academy Awards would earn a spot in the exclusive top five. So, to paint a more interesting picture of the top televised events, we decided to show you the leading events in each of five categories (see chart above): beauty pageants; music awards; awards for television, stage and screen; ethnic awards and, of course, sporting events.


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Skaters are more likely to maintain an active lifestyle than the average 12- to 17-year-old.

Snowboarding 307 241
Fly-fishing 255 312
Woodworking 221 142
Mountain biking 216 256
Hockey 185 230
Hiking 156 207
Tennis 153 182
Distance running 148 206
Painting, drawing, sculpting 120 124
Play a musical instrument 116 126
Basketball 115 126
*The index is based on a national average of 100. For example, teens who are avid skateboarders are 207 percent more likely to snowboard than the average 12- to 17-year-old.
Source: Simmons Market Research Bureau


Top nationally televised events by category, 2001.

Miss America 8.9 16
Miss Universe 5.8 11
Miss Teen USA 5.6 10
Miss USA 5.5 10
Mrs. America 0.9 2
Mrs. World 0.9 2
Grammy Awards 16.7 26
Country Music Awards 11.0 17
American Music Awards 10.4 16
Academy of Country Music 9.4 15
Billboard Music Awards 6.9 11
World Music Awards 5.5 9
Radio Music Awards 3.9 7
The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards 3.1 5
Academy Awards 26.2 40
Golden Globe Awards 14.6 21
Emmy Awards 11.4 16
People's Choice Awards** 9.7 15
Daytime Emmy Awards 7.9 14
Tony Awards 6.3 10
TV Guide Awards 5.8 9
Blockbuster Awards 4.5 8
**In addition to giving awards for TV and movies, The People's Choice Awards also honor musical performers.
Latin Grammy Awards*** 5.2 9
NAACP Image Awards 3.1 5
American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards 2.9 6
Essence Awards 2.7 5
NAACP Music Awards 2.3 4
***The telecast of Latin Grammy Awards was cancelled in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks. Ratings and share shown are for 2000, the first year the Latin Grammys were televised.
Super Bowl XXXV (NY Giants vs. Baltimore) 40.4 61
World Series Game 7 (NY Yankees vs. Arizona) 23.5 34
AFC Championship (Baltimore vs. Oakland) 22.6 42
NFC Championship (Minnesota vs. NY Giants) 20.6 44
AFC Divisional Playoff (Baltimore vs. Tennessee) 19.0 42
NFC Playoff (Philadelphia vs. NY Giants) 18.6 34
Orange Bowl (Oklahoma vs. Florida State) 17.8 28

*The rating is the percent of all TV households that tuned in to a given program. The share is the percent of households, or persons using TV at the time the program aired who watched the particular program.

Source: Nielsen Media Research

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