Empty Nest Prompts Relocation Urge in Dads

RetailMeNot has announced the latest edition of its Shoppers Trend Report, which found that parents aren't wasting time moving on with their lives after their kids leave the nest.

As parents prepare to send their kids away to college for the first time, they'll likely experience a range of emotions once the boxes are packed and the house is left quiet. But the survey found that after the tears go away, parents are just as ready as their kids to start a new chapter in life. In fact, nearly 3 in 4 parents (74%) surveyed indicated they would do things differently once their kids leave the house, with traveling (42%), spending time with friends (37%) and pampering themselves (33%) topping the list of changes.

"After years of prioritizing the wants and needs of their children, many parents find that they have more time and energy to focus on themselves once their kids leave the house for school," says Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor for  The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. "The sad irony is that parents often have more time at this stage in life, but their finances may be too strained from education costs to enjoy their newfound freedom. Utilizing savings tools is a good way to free up funds for splurges."

Parents quick to move on

Parents aren't just turning to leisure activities to cope with their empty nest syndrome. According to the survey, conducted in conjunction with The Omnibus Company, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) parents who say they would do things differently when their child left for school admit they'd make a major change such as moving, buying a TV or car, traveling or renovating their current home if their child were going away to school.

And, parents don't wait long to carry out these plans—nearly 3 in 4 (72%) respondents who plan to make a major change indicate they would do it within six months of their child leaving for school.

Additionally, moms and dads react differently when their kids go away. The survey found that females are more likely to spend time with friends and pamper themselves, while males are more likely to buy material items after their children leave for school.

  • More females than males would pamper themselves (40% vs. 24%)
  • More males than females would buy a new TV (20% vs. 4%) or move to a new home (13% vs. 5%)

American students will be happy to know that contrary to what's often depicted in young adult dramas, the survey indicated that only 13% of parents would turn their kids' bedrooms into something else, like a gym or office, when they leave the house.

AudienceSCAN reports that over 40% of Likely Home Buyers have no children living at home.  Over 1/​3 of these consumers say they will  purchase a new bed, living room furniture, and dining room furniture in the next year, indicating their intent to furnish their new residence.  In the past 30 days, 0ver 20% of these consumers have taken action as a result of an out-​of-​home ad they've seen, a detail suggesting that real estate agents may want to allocate some of their ad spending to that format to reach this audience.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.