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  • Writer's pictureHearst Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh's Consumer Quirks: What Sets Us Apart from the Rest of America?

Marketing strategies that are adapted for specific locations can make lasting connections between brands and local consumers. For marketers looking to expand in the Pittsburgh area - a city with rich history, thriving tech, healthcare, and education industries, and strong sense of community identity - understanding the unique characteristics of local consumers can unlock new levels of brand affinity and awareness.


To better understand our hometown quirks, we recently asked our research partners at Civic Science to help us with some quantitative analysis. Every day, Civic Science collects millions of responses to thousands of questions from shoppers across the country, and then they translate those answers into real-time, reliable consumer data and in-depth intelligence.


While plenty of trends and habits align with the rest of the country, there are several ways in which Pittsburghers stand out statistically. By examining the data and analyzing what sets this city's consumers apart from the rest of the U.S., here's what they found:


Pittsburghers are more likely to/to be:

  • Middle-aged (35-54), have a college degree, live in the suburbs, and be homeowners

  • Watch the bulk of their live TV through cable (+13.2%)

  • Most influenced by ads they see on TV and to watch news on television

  • Regularly exercise

  • Follow food and cooking trends and try new foods before others

  • Eat out for lunch

  • Do their banking on a mobile device

  • Follow the NFL and NHL

  • Dislike a number of actors/actresses including:

    • Anne Hathaway (+8.8%)

    • Owen Wilson (+7.3%)

    • Robert Downey Jr. (+5.2%)

    • Denzel Washington (+3.0%)

    • Scarlett Johansson (+4.6%)

    • Jamie Foxx (+5.6%)

    • Cate Blanchett (+3.2%)

    • Jennifer Lawrence (+4.0%).

  • Say horror is their favorite movie genre (+5.9%)

  • Enjoy these restaurants:

    • Long John Silver’s (+2.7%)

    • Bob Evans (+12.9%)

    • Houlihan’s (+7.5%)

    • Red Lobster (+4.1%)

  • Catholic (+9.8%)

Pittsburghers are less likely to/to be:

  • Have an Amazon.com account (-4.3%) or be favorable towards the company (-8.9%)

  • Share about product experiences or tell others about new products

  • Use any social media platform besides Facebook

  • Say their purchases or tastes are influences by what they see on social media

  • Follow tech trends or be interested in emerging tech products

  • To be interested in cutting the cord on cable television (-8.1%)

  • To use Netflix at all (+10.2%)

  • Follow the MLB, NBA or NCAA

  • To follow professional basketball:

    • NBA (-17.6%)

    • WNBA (-35.0%)

  • Eat out for dinner

  • Recycle (-4.7%)

  • Watch e-sports (-8.0%)

  • Concerned about disinfecting their surfaces at home (+12.5%)

Source: Civic Science, March 2023.


Why local insights matters:


The unique cultural, social, and economic factors around and within a specific locale influence the consumer behaviors and preferences. The insights above generalize Pittsburgh, but they can be broken down even further within the Pittsburgh DMA. For example, consumers in the urban areas around our robust university systems may have different needs and preferences than those in the suburbs or in rural areas, or consumers in Allegheny County may have different values and attitudes compared to any of the surrounding counties. Understanding these differences is essential for crafting marketing messages and campaigns that resonate with hyper-local audiences.


Additionally, local competition can vary widely from one city or town to the next. Businesses that operate in a crowded marketplaces and verticals will need to employ different strategies to stand out from competitors in that specific location. On the other hand, in less competitive markets or industries, marketers may need to work harder to create demand for their products or services.


Adapting marketing strategies to specific locations can help to maximize resources and budget. By tailoring campaigns to local needs and preferences, businesses can increase the likelihood of reaching their target audience and achieving their marketing goals.


Today, we kept things high-level, exploring the areas in which Pittsburgh's over- or under-index compared to the national average. If you're looking for specific insights and analytics about your buyers in the Pittsburgh area, we have the arsenal or research tools to help:



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