Marketers In The Housing Market Face An Uphill Climb When Targeting Millennials

Long term investments are no longer a younger demographic priority

With a reported 1.2 trillion dollars in national student debt, college loans are at an all-time high. In fact, from 2004 to 2014, there was an astronomical 74% increase in student loans balances. Due to this increase over the last decade, a larger body of millennials are moving back in with their parents after college, with a third of graduates expecting some form of financial support from their parents 2 years after graduation.

But are all recent graduates moving back in with their parents? And, if not, what are some cost-appropriate options for housingWe looked to Crimson Hexagon’s platform to further analyze the millennial housing market conversation.
Parsing into the general conversation regarding ‘living at home’, we can see that from a volume standpoint, the top 5 cities that generate the most conversation are NYC, LA, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas; which makes sense, since these locations fall under the top 10  most expensive cities in the United States.
cities housing blog post
Additionally, since the beginning of 2015, there has been an accumulation of 65,339 organic posts over social regarding living with parents, in comparison to 14,884 posts generated in 2010, which further proves that the boomerang generation is in full force. To no surprise, 54% of the “living with my parents” conversation is created by millennials.

To learn more about the housing market, we dove deeper into the data and found that over the course of the last five years, there has been a negligible amount of a millennial conversation growth regarding home insurance, where the bulk of discussion has been consistently dominated by consumers aged 35 and older.

1-Home Ins. age breakdown 2010-15

We compared this insight on a grander scale, by delving into the conversation surrounding other insurance industries. The lack of a demographic shift within housing insurance was not mirrored with either auto or life insurance, where both businesses had experienced an influx of a millennial-aged discussion over the last five years.

So, if they’re not buying houses, what are millennials doing for housing?

From these consumer behavior trends, we can infer that millennials are currently not buying into the housing market. However, while millennials are not major players in the home insurance conversation, they are certainly talking about investing in condos and apartments, which is a budget-friendlier alternative to home owning.

When looking into other housing options, and further expanding the conversation to renting, when comparing 2010 with 2015 statistics for renter’s insurance, we can see that over the last five years, the social footprint of consumers aged 18-34 has risen, from 27% to 54%. Thus, reaffirming that millennials are more interested in renting than ever before.

demographic breakdown 2010 renter's insurance

Demographic breakdown renter's insurance 2015

So, how can brand managers in the housing industry benefit from these types of insights?

Although a majority of millennials are not discussing currently buying homes, that does not mean that they are no longer interested in the housing marketing. In fact, while in 2011, where 14% of consumers aged 18-34 expressed a desire to own a house, but not being able to afford it, throughout 2015, that percentage increased to 34%.

2015 want to buy a house but can't afford to

While we can see that not all millennials are living at home with their parents, it is apparent that they’re not making long-term investments. Both real estate and management companies can utilize this type of data by capitalizing on demographic specific purchase behavior. For example, in understanding major millennial trends of shying away from long-term expenses, brand managers and marketing executives can focus their efforts on targeting millennials with shorter-term housing options, such as renting or month-to-month sublets.

Additionally, a variety of sectors within the financial industry can make use of these insights. Banks and insurance companies can collaborate with consumer-focused nonprofits, to create a stronger bond between consumer and brand, such as MassMutual’s partnership with Society of Grownups. Society of Grownups aids millennials in finding their ‘inner adult’, focusing on important financial topics, discussing topics such as tackling student debt, beginners guide to investing, and home buying.

For more insights on how brands in the financial sector can use social insights to move their brand forward, we invite you to review our financial services trend report.

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