Understanding value-conscious Boomerangers

April 20, 2011

Many young adults come home after college and stay – and largely participate in buying the household groceries.

What do you know about Boomerangers besides their return home after college? Are they slackers, like members of previous generations who also sought parental shelter? Are they collateral damage of the recession, holding jobs that don’t advance their career plans and pay too little for them to live independently? Can retailers and brands afford to ignore them?

There are plenty of Boomerangers – 13% of parents with grown children say that at least one child has moved back home in the past year, reported the Pew Research Center in 2009. 

Two recent white papers from Luminosity Marketing shed light on these 22- to 29-year-olds, who are predominantly single, work full-time, and are “developing brand loyalty.”  Two primary segments lead the Boomerangers population: 

  • 35% say they choose to live at home with their parents in order to save money.  More than half of this group feels it is “an extremely smart choice,” and they do have a timeline for moving out.
  • 25% say they live at home because they can’t afford to live on their own.  Of this group, 82% feel it isn’t fun, yet less than half have a timeline for moving out.

Additional highlights:

  • 80% of Boomerangers participate in purchasing groceries for the household.  They increasingly make household decisions and purchases, rather than their parents.
  • They generally report happy moods and low stress levels in their daily lives, since they “are able to rely on their parents as a financial safety net.”
  • They create personal living spaces within the family home – 40% say they have their own bathroom, 20% have their own mini-refrigerator.
  • 66% of their purchases show some degree of planning, while 34% are impulse.
  • For most everyday items, Boomerangers are more value-conscious than brand-centric.
  • They are also more independent shoppers than previously thought. In most cases and for most product categories, friends and family have marginal influence.

The shopping independence of Boomerangers might surprise retailers. The Lempert Report feels stores can succeed with this value-driven adult market by respectfully messaging to their individual preferences and budget concerns.