For the first time on record, living with in the parent's home is the most common living arrangement among young adults 18-34.
That's the dramatic finding of a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.
In 2014, 32.1% of 18-34 year olds were still living in their parents' home, narrowly edging out "married or cohabiting in own household, " the arrangement of 31.6% of 18-34 year olds.
Living arrangements have been tracked all the way back to 1880.
The report notes:
This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35. Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other. This type of arrangement peaked around 1960, when 62% of the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, and only one-in-five were living with their parents.
Are marketers paying attention? The whole theory of prioritizing the 18-34 or 25-34 market was predicated on new household formation. They're on their own, they're making their own purchasing decisions for the first time, they're forming new brand preferences and habits...so pile in those marketing dollars. But what if this isn't happening?
A whole new set of observations and strategies may emerge:
- The influence of parents on the brand choices of adult children still living under their roofs
- The influence of those stay-at-home adult children on the brand choices of their parents
- The degree to which both those influences are affected by who has the actual purchasing power
- New creative strategies that more openly reflect the inter-generational reality
- Tell your adult kids to buy X
- Tell your parents you want X (which may seem weird at first, since that was exactly the message the Boomers grew up on: "Hey kids, tell Mom to buy..." And now it will be done to them, only this time by adult kids)
One thing is for sure: if almost a third of this generation is still living with their parents, then the value of those parents as a target market is even higher than their own immediate wealth and consumer spending. One more reason to rebalance the allocation of those marketing dollars and spend more against the Boomers.