retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Interesting piece in the Boston Globe yesterday that talked about how adult children continue ti live with their parents in ever-greater numbers.

Here's how the Globe set up the story:

"You can’t blame the economy — not anymore. Young adults continue to move back home with their parents, even though the United States has enjoyed seven straight years of economic growth, pushing the unemployment rate below 5 percent.

"This was supposed to be a temporary phenomenon, a short-term rush for shelter set off by the financial crisis of 2007-2009. But it just keeps going. Every year, more and more 25-to-34-year-olds turn up in their parents’ houses, right through to 2016."

Now, the story makes the point that there are a number of reasons for the trend. Like, high housing costs. And parents who are tolerant of the trend, and make it easy for them to live at home. (I can vouch for that one.)

But the Globe also goes beyond the reasons to talk about the implications of the trend. This includes young people who rent rather than buy a home, who marry later than previous generations, who put off having children until later in life.

In short, they are putting off many of the behaviors that traditionally have resulted in young people spending more money in stores on things like minivans, lots of food for their families, vacations, etc...

Which inevitably is going to have an impact on the stores that have lived on the spending habits of such young people.

They have to keep their Eyes Open about that. It is going to hit their bottom lines, and it should affect the stores they are building and merchandising.

To not acknowledge and act upon such changes would be a mistake. A potentially enormous one.
KC's View: