Marketing is all about having a clear understanding of the various consumer groups driving your industry. To keep up with today’s complex consumers, my agency regularly embarks on market research that uncovers the unique demographics and values of the attitudinal groups shaping the home marketplace.
Here are my thoughts on a few of the new groups we’ve explored at K&A during our latest research. We believe that these are the emerging, hottest prospects today . . . who are creating a name for themselves in the housing channel. 
Ruppies (a new generational cohort identified as “retired urban professionals”) are a vast influential demographic with an estimated $2 trillion in annual spending power representing about 50 percent of all discretionary income. This group is approximately 40 million strong and is comprised of affluent empty nesters born between the years 1946 and 1964. In fact, every eight seconds a baby boomer turns 60 and becomes a new Ruppie candidate.
What’s important about the Ruppies is that they’re certainly not going into retirement quietly. They are living their lives the way they want to; without any predisposition to typecasts and they’re setting the new standard for life after retirement.
Motivated by a desire to stay young, healthy and fit, Ruppies remain active and an integral part of “what’s happening” in their communities.  From an aspirational point of view, 20 percent of this audience claims that they are “much healthier than other people their same age.” In addition, their quest for the non-traditional urban lifestyle makes them an exciting market for a wide range of residential home products previously targeted to the younger demos. You can be sure that these guys are not sitting on a porch overlooking the shuffleboard courts.
(If you would like a copy of K&A’s latest Ruppies white paper, email
Missing Males
Despite common belief, many men actually enjoy shopping and making household purchasing decisions.
This yields an opportunity to reach an untapped market segment in categories other than those traditionally attributed to this group: cars, beer and electronics. Although women hold a wealth of influence and buying power in the home environment, men are not to be forgotten.
The imperative role of men in modern-day households and throughout their children’s lives solidifies them as a primary domestic influence who do make purchasing decisions and control a considerable part of the family wallet.
In fact according to a University of Michigan study, in 1997 dads living at home spent 65 percent as much time in the company of their children during the week as the mothers in the same households did and on weekends, they spent 87 percent as much time. Moreover, according to the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 143,000 fathers stay at home and run the household on a daily basis.
The model where mom stays at home and the guy goes to work and makes the money is seriously outdated. Today’s male demographic should be appropriately targeted by those in the housing market as men become increasingly involved in their individual home lives. For those of you in the housing industry, this means you should pursue outlets to reach these involved men and tap into the attractive spending power they represent. Men, whether single, married, or fathers, represent significant sources of disposable income throughout all areas of the home.
(If you would like a copy of K&A’s latest Missing Males white paper,
Emerging Homeowners
Generation X, born between the years 1965 and 1981, is a force of about 51 million. Now between the ages of 27 and 43, this group spends $125 billion a year with a total spending power of over $200 billion annually.
Generation X can be defined as diverse, self-reliant and pragmatic. They are highly visual and go the Internet for all kinds of research prior to making any definitive purchasing decisions. They are continually interested in new technology and innovation and they are indisputably a group of “upgraders” who demand and respond to a more dynamic, stimulating and entertaining shopping experience.
Generation Y, or Millennials, born between the years 1982 and 1998, includes a population of about 75 million and makes up approximately 26 percent of the entire U.S. population number. What’s more, this group has cumulative spending power drawing near $150 billion annually.
Despite the current condition of the housing market, buyers under age 25 are the fastest growing home-buying age group in the country. About 1.5 million homeowners nationwide are younger than 25; two times the figure from 10 years ago.
Generation Y is optimistic, confident, moral, diverse, individualistic, educationally-focused, enthusiastic and socially conscious. They are technologically advanced and are concerned with the environment, economic issues and political trends. This makes them very sophisticated in their approach to the housing market and the products they choose for their home.
(I recently discussed this group in further detail in my Remodeling Show speech, “Marketing to the Green Generation.” For a copy of the presentation, email
Learning what makes them buy is the key to knowing how to sell
All good marketing campaigns start with the basics of research. Although there are a multitude of influential demographic and attitudinal groups present throughout the modern-day home marketplace, our research reveals that Ruppies, today’s Missing Males, and Young Homeowners play the most pivotal roles in the future of the home channel. If you arm yourself with relevant market research that shows how to lay the groundwork for smarter marketing campaigns to these groups, you will have the greatest opportunity for success now and in the future.
For additional information about any of these groups or to request a copy of some of K&A’s other white papers—the Chief Purchasing Officer of the Home and Kleber IQ:  Think Global, Act Local—click here (hyperlink click here to new biz develop email) or contact me at or 770.518.1000.