The recession has been particularly unkind to one consumer group: Young college graduates. A significant number of 22-29 year olds who have graduated from college and work are still living at home with their parents. Identifying the attitudes and purchasing patterns of this demographic group, labeled the Boomerangs, can help marketers more successfully sell to them.

Marketers might be tempted to think that Boomerangs spend money impulsively. After all, they may have plenty of cash since they’ve got an income and limited living expenses. However, Luminosity research indicates that these consumers plan their purchases at least 66% of the time. Here is the length of the typical planning cycle:

  • Today 21%
  • Last week 24%
  • Last 2 weeks 7%
  • More than 2 weeks 16%

When it comes to little luxuries and an item that is perceived as a ‘want’, this consumer group will engage in impulse buys. However, when an item becomes a ‘need’, Boomerangs are likely to begin their research process.

In another surprising finding, the Boomerangs did not exhibit a significant amount of brand influence in the purchase cycle. Analysts believe the “look, feel and functionality of an item will outweigh the brand associated with it” when these consumers are weighing a possible purchase.

As a result, analysts suggest that marketers adjust their campaigns when targeting Boomerangs. Instead of promoting brand, campaigns should underscore value and the way that the specific item will fulfill a need.

While branding is not always important to Boomerangs, packaging can be. The study revealed that part of the shopping process involves the satisfaction of taking home the product, shoes, for example and showing it off and keeping attractive packaging and boxes. In those cases, marketers may be able to use packaging as  way to increase repeat purchases.

[Source: Luminosity Boomerang consumer Study. Luminositymarketing.com. February 2011. Web. 23 Mar. 2011]