Commentary

Contact: The Kids Are OK

  • by March 30, 2005
Parents who have nightmares about their children leaving the family nest to enter the real world can relax; in the 21st century, many young adults, and not-so-young adults are moving back home. Nearly 18 million 18- to 34-year-olds live with their parents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Further, Census data reveals that 64 percent of men and 53 percent of women aged 20 to 24 live at home. While it may be comforting to struggling Generation X and Yers, it should inspire more than passing interest to advertisers and marketers looking to target this group.

"Boomerangers," as they're called, move home to save money, or because they're out of work and are seeking direction and affection, says Elina Furman, author of "Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living With Your Parents the Second Time Around," set for release in May.

A former Boomeranger herself, she thinks marketers are missing the boat when it comes to the demographic. "The best way to reach them is to not make light of the situation," Furman notes. "It is important to approach them as responsible consumers and raise their self-esteem since theirs is low, and because they feel that they're judged by their peers."

According to Furman's data, Boomerangers have significant discretionary income and spending power, perhaps because only 28 percent of Baby Boomers who expect their children to move back in with them plan to make them pay rent. While Boomerangers may save rent money, they don't necessarily gain in the self-esteem department. To make up for their living status, Furman says they start buying things like cars, luxury goods, and vacations. JC

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