Long shunned as hobby-obsessed lonely losers living in messy bedrooms with a dreadful taste in music, geeks, computer spods and sci-fi nuts have revealed themselves as a lucrative target for advertisers.
The Sci Fi Geekforce Report, a new study by the Sci-Fi channel service, reveals geeks to be high-spenders with the power to make or break billion-pound brands.
With Borg-like numbers (nearly 7 million in the UK), the collective buying power of geeks is making cappuccino-supping noo meedja types sit up and reach for their mood boards, with the survey estimating the “geek pound” to be worth a staggering £8.2bn (~€12bn ~ US$15~)a year.
The research, undertaken in association with marketing specialists TGI and media agency Rocket, also revealed that the geeks are predominantly ABC1 consumers, with some 33% of their number being female.
The bigwigs of Sci-Fi conducted the research to try and work out the popularity of the multi-billion dollar genre when it was supposedly the province of “solitary, unpopular individuals with niche interests and questionable personal hygiene habits.”
Dan Winter, head of press at Sci-Fi, declared himself “blown away” by the survey, which challenged many of the stereotypes.
For example, far from being long-term bedroom dwellers with only a death metal collection for company, the survey revealed geeks to be sociable animals, 52% more likely than the average person to have had four holidays in the last 12 months and 125% more likely to visit pubs, clubs and bars.
Nearly 40% of geeks believed their special interests make them attractive to the opposite sex, although we’re not convinced that, “Hi! Have you seen the latest Asus motherboard?” is a winning chat up line.
The bit that will get the advertisers moist in their strap lines is the fact that geeks are 90% more likely to be the first among their chums to invest in new products.
Martin Heaton Cooper, advertising sales director for Sci Fi, commented: “It’s clear that in a time of advertising overload and scepticism, the mainstream is turning to their new geek counterparts to help them make product decisions.”
The Sci Fi Geekforce Report is due to be released in July.