The United States is ten years into a boom in multi-generational households – a trend that COVID did little to stop. With roughly 20% of Americans (and about one in three Americans under 35) living in multigenerational households, no marketing strategy is complete without taking them into account.
Multi-generational households don’t necessarily shop the way “traditional”, nuclear family households do. In particular, the mother’s role as primary director of household spending is somewhat abated. This is partly because there are more adults whose preferences must be considered; one cannot after all dictate food choices to one’s parents or working adult children the same way one can to a child. It’s also because Mom can delegate shopping tasks (among others) – and when Mom has a job, she’s happy to do so. Finally, children’s shopping behavior is influenced by multiple people, who may impart the different habits of different generations.
It’s not just how multi-generational families shop though; it’s also what they buy. A multi-generational household might well purchase goods that reflect the needs and desires of Gen Z or Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers. Each of these cohorts has very different perspectives on brand loyalty and price sensitivity. They also have different approaches to shopping itself; to look at one example, younger customers are unsurprisingly far more inclined to integrate mobile devices into their routine than are older ones.
So what does this all mean for marketers? Simply put, it’s imperative for brands (particularly CPG brands) to look beyond their core targets when considering messages, product placement, display, and more. That means reconciling a consistent, coherent brand strategy with multi-generational appeal. Traditional marketing strategies don’t do a good job of addressing this need. Fortunately, inclusive marketing provides a solution. The core of our approach is to take core truths and messages, and interpret them through the context of different groups’ experiences.
Inclusive marketing as an approach to multi-generational households has an additional benefit: it allows brands to speak indirectly to groups such as Latinos where multi-general households are more prevalent. A consumer may not live in such a household themselves – but they’ll still think “you get me” when a brand shows something culturally familiar. I’d love to get specific about what marketing to multi-generational households can mean for your brand. Let’s get in-touch! .