NFTs Are All the Rage, but Who’s Actually Buying Them?

According to a new Adweek/Harris Poll survey, millennials are most likely to invest in the digital collectibles

By KATHRYN LUNDSTROM | Adweek | April 5, 2021

The buzz around non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has taken over the internet in the past several weeks, and public awareness of the digital collectibles is rising fast.

To get a sense of who’s interested in NFTs, why and in what form, Adweek partnered with Harris Poll to survey 1,088 adults in the U.S. on their overall familiarity with the tokens and how likely they would be to purchase one.

(Editor’s note: Claims about investments have not been verified by an independent brokerage firm, securities exchange, other financial institution or trading records.)

Familiarity with NFTs jumped 13 percentage points in the last two weeks

According to the new survey, which was conducted last week, 40% of respondents said they’re “familiar” with NFTs—up from just 27% two weeks ago—and 81% say they’re “aware” of them.

Still, a greater awareness doesn’t mean everyone is sold on the idea of unique, blockchain-powered digital art as a viable investment.

While 40% of those familiar with NFTs say they’re at least somewhat likely to consider buying one, 42% don’t expect the popularity of NFTs to last more than five years. Still, 38% think they’d be worth investing in even if they did fall out of style.

Millennials are most likely to invest in NFTs

Overall, not many Americans have jumped on the NFT bandwagon yet—only 12% of respondents said they’ve invested in the digital collectibles. But among millennials, that number’s a bit higher: 27% say they’re currently investing in NFTs. Millennials are also the most likely cohort to invest in cryptocurrencies at 37%.

Predictably, those who consider themselves “collectors” are also more likely to want a piece of the shiny new digital collectible pie. For overall collectors, 22% said they own NFTs, and for collectors with more than $100,000 in annual income, that jumps to 33%.

NFTs are the new vinyl

Those interested in buying NFTs fall into two distinct categories: those who consider themselves investors and those who consider themselves collectors. Between the two groups, there’s a key difference in how they perceive NFTs. Investors are more likely see the digital tokens as a short-term fad (50% versus 42%), and collectors are more likely to see the sentimental value they hold (61% versus 46%).

Among collectors, NFTs are already just as common as vinyl records and vintage toys. Collectors are more likely to be stocking up on NFTs than other popular collectibles like sports memorabilia, comic books and cars.

By the brand

But most importantly for brands looking to get in on the non-fungible-token fun, consumers don’t view all NFTs as equally desirable.

Of the consumers who said they would be interested in buying an NFT, the highest percentage of respondents (36%) said they’d want a song. The next highest, at 35%, said they’d be interested in digital artwork, and 33% said they were interested in videos. Only 17% said they’d want to buy NFTs of a tweet (sorry, Jack), and 13% said they’d be interested in essays.

Each type of NFT had a different level of monetary value in the minds of respondents, as well. Consumers said they’d spend an average of $2,411.61 on an NFT of a sports trading card but only $144.94 for a meme and $143.30 for a tweet.

When asked what value they saw in the tokens, 40% of respondents said they saw NFTs as a good financial investment, and 46% said the artistic value was most important.

Respondents were most interested in Nike NFTs when asked about branded offerings—57% said they’d be most likely to buy a digital collectible from the sportswear brand (which patented the use of NFT tech for sneakers in 2019). Just 17% said they’d be most likely to buy a token from Yeezy, and 13% said they’d trade cash for a Charmin NFT.

Consumers are unaware of the environmental risk posed by NFTs

Due to the energy-intensive process required to mint NFTs, experts have raised concerns about the carbon footprint of the digital collectibles. However, consumers remain largely unaware of the environmental risks related to the process. Overall, only 18% of respondents said they believe NFTs will have a negative environmental impact. Beyond that, 68% of both collectors and investors said they expect NFTs to have a positive environmental impact.

Of millennial respondents, 47% said they see the environmental impact of NFTs as positive, and only 13% see it as negative.

Read the full story at Adweek.