Americans, especially baby boomers, aren’t changing residences as often, our houses are bigger and more expensive than ever, yet we are away from home more than ever. Why? With fewer children in the home, we’re becoming a nation of empty nesters.

Higher incomes mean we’re traveling more. More Americans have second homes they visit on weekends and holidays. Empty nesters, second home owners and two-earner households also eat out more often. So despite the proliferation of incredibly lavish kitchens, fewer Americans are even at home during mealtimes. What does this mean for the future marketing of goods and services? American Demographics magazine suggests that consumers will spend more money on services and less on certain products. Instead of buying an expensive lawn mower, for example, a typical homeowner may opt for a mowing service. Instead of buying paint, homeowners may hire a painter. There may even be less home maintenance because absent homeowners don’t pay such close attention to how the place looks. But the biggest impact will probably be on the media—how advertisers have traditionally reached consumers. People at work for longer hours, traveling more often, frequently eating out and spending more time at a second home are less likely to be home to watch local television, listen to a local radio station, read the community newspaper or pay attention to what comes in the mail.

American Demographics 1 Oct 2003