New movers: A recession-proof consumer category

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Donald Hinman, Epsilon
Donald Hinman, Epsilon

Moving to a new home — whether for work, family or simply more space — is one of the great catalysts of consumer spending. The average new resident spends about $7,300 on everything from window treatments to take-out meals in the three months following a move.

This spending sweet spot around a new move is prime time to reach consumers when they are most receptive to trial offers and actually looking to forge new connections. As a marketing trigger, few lifestyle transitions have this kind of recession-resistant impact on consumer spending.

Our analysis of new mover buying patterns has found that new movers are big spenders on everything from home décor and household goods to dining and domestic services to electronics and appliances. On average, during the year of their move, new mover households spend 52% more than non-movers on home décor and furnishings. Among movers who simply moved across town, one in five develop relationships with new cable TV, home phone, Internet and insurance providers.

People in this transition phase respond most strongly to a combination of push and pull strategies. When looking for businesses in their new communities, new movers cited referrals from neighbors as the primary driver, followed by the Internet, direct response programs, friends and family, realtors and local newspapers. Fifty-five percent of new movers respond to direct mail and 60% respond to special offers targeted specifically at new movers.

Effectively targeting new movers is not quite as simple as buying real estate transfer lists, which do not account for renters and do not provide much granularity on the demographics of the moving family. Neither will lists of phone number changes adequately reflect new movers since many households — such as cellular only users and VOIP households — no longer have published phone numbers. Effectively targeting new movers requires access to many sources of mover information.

Marketers will want to think about things like the relevance of their outreach campaigns to the different segments of the new mover market – those who are moving up, those who are downsizing and those who are looking for a fresh start. The move will trigger different types of spending within each of these three groups, and a truly efficient campaign will take those differences into account when modeling target lists.

Donald Hinman is SVP, data services at Epsilon. Reach him at


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