‘Boomerang’ Consumers Offer Potential Value

June 7, 2010

The growing segment of adult consumers moving back in with their parents offers marketers a potentially lucrative customer niche, according to a new study from Luminosity Marketing.

13% of Parents Report Boomerang Children
“Boomerangers” are defined as young adults who after living away from home move back in with their parents, remaining at least somewhat dependent on them. Thirteen percent of parents report at least one grown child has moved back in with them in the past year. Boomerangers are a potentially valuable group of consumers for several reasons.

Consumers typically begin developing brand loyalty habits during ages 20 to 29, which is the age range of this particular consumer group. By adopting specific brand loyalties early in life, consumers represent a high total lifetime value for companies. The challenge for marketers is to understand the impact living at home has on the boomerang generation’s purchase habits and product choices.

Boomerangers Influence Many Purchase Decisions
Boomerangers have a large degree of influence on many purchase decisions, both for personal purchases and for household purchases. About 40% of Boomerangers make an independent decision about home furnishings for their bedroom, and close to another 40% make household decisions about home furnishings for their bedroom. Slightly more than 40% make independent decisions about health insurance, and about 35% make household health insurance decisions.


Other areas where Boomerangers hold sway over purchase decisions include car/transportation (almost 40% independent, about 35% household), cell phone (about 25% for both independent and household), and toiletries (about 22% independent and 25% household).

In the categories of internet, groceries and cable/satellite TV, a relatively low percentage of Boomerangers make independent decisions but a relatively high percentage make household decisions, suggesting Boomerangers tend to share these products and services with their parents. The highest levels of parental decision-making occur in the areas of yard maintenance, utilities, home improvement, home furnishings for common areas, and home repair.

Boomerangers Happiest with Friends
Boomerangers appear to be happiest when they are with their friends. Family and being alone also appears to have a calming influence on the Boomerangers even though they rate their happiness lower than when with friends. Being with co-workers has more stress reported than when with any other group.


Marketers of products and services that are in-home focused and have a family-oriented marketing strategy could benefit from including multi-generational, particularly boomerang, households. Coupling this finding with the decision-making findings, marketers in entertainment and technology based services could have high success among the boomerang consumer market.

One-third of Boomerangers Live at Home by Choice
Thirty-five percent of Boomerangers fall into the “Savers” category, meaning they can financially afford to live on their own but live with their parents by choice to save money. Savers largely do not pay rent to their parents. Fifty-seven percent have a timeline for moving out.


One-quarter of Boomerangers Live at Home by Necessity
Another 25% of Boomerangers are “Strugglers” who live at home out of financial necessity. In this segment, most do not have a timeline for moving out, a large majority doesn’t pay rent to their parents. Respondents in this segment have a rather negative view of their living situation. Only 37% of Strugglers feel that their parents treat them like adults and 82% feel that living at home is not fun.


Multi-generational Households Return
The multi-generational family household has been returning in the US since 1980 and at an accelerated pace during the current recession, according to the Pew Research Center.

In 2008, an estimated 49 million Americans, or 16% of the population, lived in a family household that contained at least two adult generations or a grandparent and at least one other generation. In 1980, this figure was just 28 million, or 12% of the population. The last time this high a percentage of the US population lived in a multi-generational family household was in the late 1950s. By 1960, the share had dropped to 15%.

About the Data: This study targeted Boomerang young adults who have college educations, work full-time and are between the ages of 22 and 29. The study was conducted from March – May, 2010. A combined total of 357 Boomerang consumers were included in the study, with 49 completing 791 mobile surveys.


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