Is Britain going all continental?

Britain has traditionally been very much an island of its own within Europe. But there is increasing evidence to suggest that we are embracing a more continental way of life. Let’s look at the way we live.

Whilst it has been common on the Continent (check out the Mammoni phenomenon in Italy), the multi-generational way of living has never been thought of as particularly ‘British’. In fact, quite the opposite, with youngsters encouraged to get their ‘foot on the property ladder’. However an over-heated property market, lack of housing stock supply, a difficult job market for young people and the rising cost of education, have all led to an increasing number of young Britons either not flying the nest or returning to it.

From a cultural point of view, we are, as a nation, pretty open to this new way of living. Our Future of Britain study revealed that 42% are very open to the idea of their children moving back in with them (only 13% were very against the idea).

This has important ramifications for decision making within households. For example, younger people are on hand to influence their parents, with over a third (36%) of 16-24s advising their parents on a major life decision. At the same time these youngsters are becoming increasingly passive consumers (around 1 in 10 people who have moved back in with their parents don’t decide the brand of shampoo they use). At OMD UK, we forecast that this new model of living will continue to grow, with brands required to understand new decision making units and develop a strategy that is relevant to this new model.


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