Friday, March 02, 2012
Young adults are becoming renters and not homeowners. The story is here in data. They can't afford to own a home with debts from education, an uncertain economy and single status. This almost certainly changes the way PR practitioners speak to them. Certainly anyone in a housing-related business has had to change messages already. But, there are other areas affected as well. A renter cannot own as many things as someone with a house. There isn't as much room for them. So, this may well slow the sales of large consumer items like furniture and appliances. It might also slow the sale of clothes, for there is only so much closet space in an apartment. How will it affect leisure? That is an unknown, but if one is paying down debt, it is likely to cut into ski trips, sun-soaking in the Caribbean and snorkeling in Hawaii. In other words, the lifestyle of a nation of renters is different than a nation of homeowners. We can't assume their aspirations are the same. This means we need to educate ourselves as practitioners in how to speak to renters -- an education that should start now.