Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Marketing To Empty Nesters market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Empty nesters are both excited and worried for this new chapter in their lives. They look forward to the additional time and freedom to refocus on themselves, their personal interests and their connection with their spouse/partner and friends.

Many soon-to-be empty nesters face concerns over facing the fear of the unknown and loneliness, seeing being a parent as a large part of their identity. Brands have the opportunity to help ease these concerns for parents, giving them the chance to invest more time in previously forgotten hobbies and interests.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw many moving back in with their parents, either for financial or health concerns. This saw many empty-nesters looking to help connect with their grown children, sometimes relinquishing their empty nester status and letting their grown kids come back to the nest. This focus on providing their emotional and financial stability potentially continuing into the longer term.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our US Lifestyles market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on empty nester and boomerang parents
  • What empty nesters and soon-to-be empty nesters are looking forward to and concerned about once their children leave the nest
  • Empty nester interest and participation in hobbies
  • Changes in spending habits once children leave the home

Covered in this report

Brands: Beyond The Nest, Princess Cruises, Verizon, Portal, Subaru.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Ariel Horton, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Parents look forward to becoming empty nesters, but their identity as a parent still remains intact. They desire to maintain their strong connection with their children and are still there to provide any kind of support their children need. Beyond their children, they look for community and connection with their partner/spouse and friends, and they choose to dive deeper into hobbies and activities that they have already established and enjoy.
Ariel Horton
Lifestyle and Leisure Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Target audience overview
      • Figure 1: When parents anticipate boomerang children moving out, 2021
    • Impact of COVID-19 on empty nesters
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on empty nesters, July 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Parents are looking forward to connection, travel and saving money
      • Figure 3: Looking forward, 2021
    • Top concerns center around safety and connection with children
      • Figure 4: Empty nester concerns, 2021
    • Spending habits largely remain unchanged
      • Figure 5: Empty nester spending, 2021
    • Hobbies and activities are established before children leave the home
      • Figure 6: Empty nester and soon-to-be empty nester segments, by number of hobbies, 2021
    • As children become more independent, empty nesters shift their focus
      • Figure 7: Life changes, 2021
  3. Target Audience – Key Takeaways

    • Empty nesters still focus on family
    • Children are living at home with their parents for longer
    • Financial instability delays empty nester status
    • Help empty nesters downsize
  4. Empty Nesters by the Numbers

    • Becoming an empty nester
    • Majority of empty nesters are married
      • Figure 8: Marital status shares, by age, 2020
      • Figure 9: Empty nester couples who share children, 2014
    • Still focus on helping children financially
      • Figure 10: Household income distribution, shares by age of householder, 2019
  5. Boomerang Parents by the Numbers

    • More children are living with their parents longer
      • Figure 11: Share of young adults aged 18-34, who live at home, 1990-2020
    • Financial independence fuels adult children’s move back home
      • Figure 12: Reasons young adults move back home, 2021
    • Financial stability determines when children will move out
      • Figure 13: When parents anticipate boomerang children moving out, 2021
  6. Market Factors

    • Impact of COVID-19 on empty nesters
    • Immediate impacts (2020)
    • Short term (2021)
      • Figure 14: COVID-19 behaviors, by parenting segments, 2021
      • Figure 15: COVID-19 attitudes, by parenting segments, 2021
    • Recovery (2022-25)
    • Student loan debt impacts children’s ability to leave the home
    • Children want stability before they leave the home
      • Figure 16: Median age at first marriage, 1950 to present
    • Young adults’ unemployment delays financial stability
      • Figure 17: Unemployment rate, by age, May 2020-May 2021
  7. Market Opportunities

    • Learning how to cook for a smaller family size
    • Assist in downsizing, organizing and updating homes
    • Focus on quality and price
      • Figure 18: Purchase value, indexed to all adults, 2021
  8. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Empty nesters seek adventure
    • Looking for convenient and budget-friendly options that keep the family connected
  9. Competitive Strategies

    • Mintel Global Trend Drivers
    • Mintel Trend Driver: Experiences
      • Figure 19: Mintel Trend Driver, Experiences
    • Beyond The Nest supports empty nesters through adventure
      • Figure 20: What to do when the kids fly the coop, February 2021
    • Princess Cruise Lines offers adventure
      • Figure 21: Princess Cruises walking buddy, May 2021
    • Mintel Trend Driver: Value
      • Figure 22: Mintel Trend Driver, Value
    • Verizon offers unlimited family plans on a budget
      • Figure 23: Mix and match is for the whole family, October 2019
    • Facebook portal conveniently connects families
      • Figure 24: Portal – Feel There, October 2018
  10. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Dads are more excited to become empty nesters
    • Moms have more concerns for this next phase of life
    • Spending remains consistent in most areas
    • Hobbies are established before children leave the home
    • Empty nesters shift their community
  11. Looking Forward

    • Empty nesters look forward to connection and freedom
      • Figure 25: Looking forward, 2021
    • Anticipation of empty nester status leads to excitement
      • Figure 26: Looking forward, by soon-to-be empty nester segments, 2021
    • Dads are more excited than moms to be empty nesters
      • Figure 27: Empty nesters looking forward, by gender of parent, 2021
    • Income determines what empty nesters look forward to
      • Figure 28: Empty nesters looking forward, by household income, 2021
  12. Empty Nester Concerns

    • Children’s safety and maintaining a connection are top concerns
      • Figure 29: Empty nester concerns, 2021
    • Brand Spotlight: Subaru
      • Figure 30: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek – Girls Trip, September 2020
    • Anticipation also leads to heightened concerns
      • Figure 31: Concerns, by soon-to-be empty nester segments, 2021
    • Moms have more concerns than dads
      • Figure 32: Concerns, by gender of parent, 2021
  13. Changes in Spending Habits

    • Empty nesters experience stable spending
      • Figure 33: Empty nester spending, 2021
    • Empty nester dads more willing than moms to spend
      • Figure 34: Empty nester spending, by gender of parent, 2021
  14. Hobbies and Activities

    • Empty nesters may return to established hobbies
      • Figure 35: Hobbies and interests, 2021
    • Empty nesters have more focus on specific hobbies
      • Figure 36: Empty nester and soon-to-be empty nester segments, by number of hobbies, 2021
  15. Life Changes

    • Engaging with community outside their household
      • Figure 37: Life changes, 2021
    • Empty nester moms and dads see progress through different lenses
      • Figure 38: Life changes, by gender of parent, 2021
    • Single empty nesters are lonely
      • Figure 39: Life changes, by marital status, 2021
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Direct marketing creative
    • Abbreviations
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


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