America is becoming a nation of homebodies

It’s an unmistakable conclusion of new research by Kantar Consulting for Trusted Media Brands – publisher of The Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, and Family Handyman – on the modern family and home. Instead of filling their free time with active, social events, we found that modern American families are preferring to stay put with a close circle of family and friends in the comfort of their own homes.

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Source: 2018 Trusted Media Brands Modern Family Study

The reasons behind this change are manifold, ranging from stagnant wages to the divisive political environment to an explosion of on-demand entertainment and delivery options in the home. But what’s not in question is how the home-basing trend is affecting the consumer marketplace: It’s altering the outlook of industries such as entertainment (movie attendance is at its lowest level since 1995), housing (the relocation rate is at its lowest rate since the Census started measuring it 50 years ago), restaurants (people now eat at home 80% of the time), home improvement (home remodeling projects are expected to rise 7% through 2019), and even energy (a recent study found Millennials preference for home-based activities decreased overall energy consumption by 2%).

Given the Millennial generation’s clear preference for this lifestyle, it’s likely a trend just getting started – 78% of this youthful generation say they would rather stay in with their family than go out (virtually identical to the 80% of all families that agreed with the same statement).

But beyond its impact on the current marketplace, what’s driving Home-basing and what should businesses catering to these modern families expect in the future? A few conclusions are clear based upon our research:

– Modern families desire comfort above all. The home today is no longer a means for status-seeking and bigger is no longer better. Today’s home is above all is a sanctuary for modern families and a place to be productive, to connect and recharge. When asked to describe their homes, “comfortable” was the word chosen most often (81%) and across family types whether multi-generational, multicultural, single parents, or families with young children.

Top Words that describe your home
Source: 2018 Trusted Media Brands Modern Family Study

– Modern families see flexibility as a “must-have” in modern homes: As the home becomes more prominent, we found that families of all types are seeking homes that can “flex” with the changing demands of their families (by, for instance, accommodating a cash-strapped Millennial child or older relatives into the home). 63% agree, “We are adapting our home as our family structure changes.” The leading home builder in the country, Lennar, is investing in Multi-generational housing developments, and new homes today are more likely to be built to appeal to Millennials taste for adaptable spaces that serve a variety of lifestyle choices.

– Modern families are protecting time with their families, especially the family meal: Perhaps as an antidote to the digital distractions and competing schedules, all families are increasingly carving out and planning for quality family time. For instance, we found that 65% of modern families agree, “In my home, we have dedicated quality time that we make sure to spend together as a family.” One beneficiary of this shift is a reprioritization of the family meal: While it’s hardly ever been more challenging to secure the physical presence, never mind attention of various family members, nearly 4 in 5 families agree, “My family makes sure to set aside time regularly for family meals or gatherings” and 9 of 10 agree, “Eating dinner together is a priority in my family.”

Top Words that describe your home

Source: 2018 Trusted Media Brands Modern Family Study

For brand marketers, our research suggests that it’s high time to adapt to the changing structure and sensibility of the modern American family. To learn more about this study on the modern American home, download the full report here. And if you’re interested in learning more about how Kantar Consulting can partner with you on future thought-leadership initiatives, contact Ryan McConnell below.


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