Let's talk about GenerationS Rent

Forget Generation Rent. Cogent's Dan Neville explores how changing attitudes to moving home are impacting subscription and rental culture.

How changing attitudes to moving home are impacting subscription and rental culture? Dan Neville, Strategy Director at Cogent explores the findings of their new Moving Minds survey.

The act of looking for and moving into a new home is an inertia buster that sees consumer spending behaviour change dramatically. But how do our mindsets change when we’re in moving mode and how does that influence our spending habits?

Integrated marketing agency, Cogent, have recently conducted a unique piece of consumer research, Moving Minds. This attitudinal study explores why people move home while identifying eight home mover tribes and delving into their purchasing behaviours.

With renting on the rise, the study also looks at how mindsets and habits vary between owners and renters, and where opportunities lie for brands.

Balancers have an adaptable mindset

The study unearths that one in 10 people moving home in the UK are doing so to move closer to work, to minimise commute time and gain a better work-life balance. These 'Balancers' are comparatively frequent movers, and don’t develop deep emotional connections with their home. They see it primarily as a crash pad to facilitate their work hard, play hard lifestyle. These people are attracted to change and have a highly adaptable mindset. They recognise that they’re on a journey, but as yet are unsure of the final destination. This makes them hesitant to make decisions that feel like long term commitments. That said, their dynamic mindset means they tend to see themselves as early adopters who are attracted to products that can be easily replaced or upgraded when an improved version comes along.

91% of 'Balancers' rent their home and 35% state they expect to move home again within 1-2 years, meaning that brands and retailers offering subscription or rental services are likely to appeal to this tribe. Services which easily allow for upgrades (TVs, cars and smartphones for example) are likely to lend themselves to a flexible and ever-changing lifestyle, to an audience resistant to commitment and open to change in the future.

Growing market of renters

Moving Minds also explores a shift in the profile of buyers vs renters when it comes to the housing market in general. Renters account for over 70% of all home moves in the UK. This is not surprising when you consider that 60% of renters stay an average of three years or less in each property, whereas buyers stay an average of 21 years. This skew to rental is set to grow. With the number of 55+ year old renters doubling in the last 15 years, and half of babies in the UK now being born into rented homes, we are not simply talking about a 'Generation Rent' but about 'Generations Rent'.

Marketing which targets home movers has traditionally focused on buyers, largely ignoring the potential of the renter. For some sectors and brands this may be the right approach, but for others, ignoring renters means they are missing out on a sizeable – and growing – opportunity for sales in the short term, and for purchase frequency and brand loyalty in the longer term.

The research enables marketers to understand both. While we have seen slight variances in the nature of products and services bought by renters vs buyers, the study demonstrates that both share – and can therefore be segmented by – the same core set of attitudinal motivations to move. Their decision-making behaviours and attitudes are remarkably similar too.

This will offer new opportunities for brands keen to unlock the spending potential of anyone in a moving mindset and highlight new avenues for brands who have previously dismissed it as a strategy for the home buying market only. 

With Generations Rent growing, there are more opportunities than ever to realise the commercial value of anyone on the move.

These are just some of the findings from Cogent’s Moving Minds study. Along with Balancers, the study uncovered seven other tribes: Seekers, Nurturers, Couplers, Idealists, Showhomers, Pragmatists and Reconnectors – each with their unique motivations for moving. To find out more about their behaviour profiles, through the lens of established psychological theories download the full whitepaper.

Last updated 21 January 2022