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Wall Street expects that Walt Disney and its licensees will sell $5 billion in merchandise related to Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens in the first year alone after its Dec. 18 release. Judging from Nielsen data released Thursday, that might be a conservative estimate.
Nielsen, the research firm best known for its TV ratings, says that Star Wars fans spend more money than the average moviegoer in a whole host of product categories. For example, in purchases of technology, auto, food and personal care, combined, Star Wars fans spend $4,300 annually, compared to $4,100 for Americans in general.
A more specific example: A Star Wars fan spends $156 on snacks each year, which is $11 more than the average American consumer spends.
Star Wars fans also have more disposable income. According to Nielsen, they are 9 percent more likely than the general population to be part of a household making $70,000 per year.
The Force Awakens, of course, has many marketing tie-ins, including Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Pottery Barn, Adidas, Lucky Charms and more, and Nielsen suggests that the old-school actors who starred in the original 1977 Star Wars (and are also in Force Awakens) make very good pitchmen.
Harrison Ford scores a perfect 100 on Nielsen’s “N-Score,” which measures a celebrity’s endorsement potential by figuring out how well-known, well-liked and trusted they are. The average celebrity scores 75, but Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill both exceed that score.
The Nielsen data was released Thursday in a blog post that also revealed some demographic information. For example, a Star Wars fan is 17 percent more likely to be a Gen Xer (age 35-49) than the average American, and also 17 percent more likely to be Asian.
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