Generation Rent will stay and have their say

In the last few years we have witnessed the “empty nest” syndrome becoming a problem of the past for millions of parents who have adult children in their twenties and early thirties still living at home.

The trend of young adults returning to live in the parental home has grown in recent years, and we have named these returners Generation Rent in our Living with Future Britain project. As rents and house prices have risen further out of the reach of would-be homeowners, living with parents is the only viable option for many young adults.

Three in ten parents have at least one child aged between 21 and 40 living at home, according to a survey published by the National Housing Federation.

This living arrangement works both ways, however: Generation Rent has a large degree of influence on many household purchase decisions. In phase two of our Future of Britain project we explored the impact of this for brands and advertisers. These young people living at home help their parents make decisions in different areas, especially technology. Three quarters of people living at home between the ages of 20-35 gave technological advice to their parents; they gave them all sorts of advice from exactly what to buy to brand recommendations. A few examples we saw are:

‘I always advise my parents what to buy when it comes to gadgets, the most recent one was an HD flat screen TV for the kitchen’ Male 21-25 living with parents

‘I advised my mum on buying a kindle. I showed her how mine worked and she borrowed it for a while. Now she’s hooked!’ Female 26-29 living with parents

‘I advised my dad to get a contract phone as he was spending a lot on PAYG and I knew it would save him a lot of money. I also then recommended the best deal for him’. Female 30-34 living with parents

This is one of the household dynamic changes we saw from our first phase of the project. Ten years ago the picture was quite different with young people moving out of the household as soon as they had some financial independence, otherwise you would have been seen as a loser. This meant that when parents were buying any technological equipment or any product for the house, the influence of their children was non-existent or minimal.

Brands these days need to take into account the clear impact Generation Rent has on parents’ decisions. They need to make sure they are targeting the right people with their marketing campaigns as well as thinking about the benefits of creating dual strategies targeting both audiences for the same product.


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