24/7 is not only America’s business mantra, but a fitting depiction of our frenzied, multi-tasking, round-the-clock lifestyles. Now add to the equation the social media explosion combined with our obsession for caffeine, America is breeding a wired generation that operates from midnight to dawn – Vampires.
The National Sleep Foundation’s (http://www.sleepfoundation.org/) latest poll estimated that Americans now get an average of 6.7 hours of sleep during a weekday – approximately 25 percent less than we did 100 years ago. The poll also revealed that 20 percent of the people surveyed sleep less than six hours. What has caused a decline in the hours of sleep? Start with stress and economic angst. Throw in the advent of the Internet with access to global friends and clients, the plethora of entertainment options, twenty-four hour convenience stores, restuarants and fitness centers, Americans are staying awake longer hours. Consequently, 24/7 is the norm; we are breeding a Vampire generation that continues to be wired from midnight to dawn.
There are two other significant factors that will fuel the wakefulness of American life in the next decade – social media and caffeine.
Ø Last week, according the “Consumer Internet Barometer” published by TNS and the Conference Board, the percentage of U.S. Internet users who visit social networking sites jumped from 26.7% in 2008 to 43.7% in 2009. Approximately 72% of those users were under the age of 35. What better time to tweet or stay connected to friends via Facebook, Flickr or LinkedIn than between midnight and dawn – after work/school, working out and socializing?
Ø Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine everywhere. Let’s look at the numbers: Coffee consumption consistently continues to soar with 54% of the adult populations partaking in 2009, with men out drinking women among coffee drinkers approximately 1.9 versus 1.4 cups per day. Tea has evolved into a $6.85 billion market, 3.7 times the amount consumed in 1990 when the Tea Association of the U.S.A. began tracking the value of wholesale tea sales (http://www.teausa.org/general/teaandhealth/200g.cfm). In 2007 it was reported that Americans consumed three quarters of a gallon per capita of energy drinks. Analysts are now projecting that per capita consumption of energy drinks will jump to two plus gallons by 2011. Then there is “Liquid Candy.” Carbonated soft drinks are not only the largest source of calories in the American diet, but they also contain caffeine. A 12 oz. can of Coke has 34 milligrams of caffeine; the monthly per capita of soda is 48 cans or the equivalent of 54 gallons per year.
More 24/7 options catering to Vampires will develop, gathering places where Vampires can meet, network live or via technology, eat and drink everything from coffee drinks to energy drinks – even Bloody Mary’s.
Sounds like another opportunity for Starbucks.