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Brief Published: 7 Aug 2020

Pandemic Puts a Pause on US Consumers’ Life Milestones

Owing to Covid-19 disruptions, 36% of US consumers are delaying major milestones

Due to the imminent Covid-catalysed global recession, over a third (36%) of US consumers are delaying major milestones such as marriage or having kids (Bankrate, 2020). As we discuss in our Future Consumer Life Cycle reports, brands are well-placed to act as allies and help people weather change as life plans go awry.

More than one in 10 (11.6%) Americans have halted the search for a new job during the pandemic, a recent survey from New York-based financial services company Bankrate has found. This tops the list of financial goals delayed by US consumers due to Covid-19, followed by buying or leasing a car (11.3%), purchasing a home (8.6%) and pursuing further education (7.1%).

Financial providers should diversify their product to tempt cash-strapped consumers into making investments such as house purchases. Take a leaf from new London-based lender Generation Home. Later this year, it’s launching a mortgage package for friends buying together to help young people get on the property ladder. We explore how brands can support consumers during this time in Post-Pandemic Financial Wellness, publishing on August 17.

Traditional life milestones are also being deferred – 5% of Americans are postponing having children, while 4% have put off getting married and retiring. While these life events were already being pushed back in consumers’ lives (see Nurturing New Parents, Cracking the Coming-of-Age Economy and Accelerating Ageing Well), the pandemic has accelerated this trend as many face financial difficulties. 

Brands must be sensitive to the challenges and upset of changed plans. As we advised in all of our Future Consumer Life Cycle reports, companies should focus on supporting consumers through life transitions and acknowledge alternative milestones – such as becoming debt-free or rearranged weddings – in marketing and product solutions. By placing less emphasis on traditional and newly out-of-reach goals, brands are sure to win with consumers seeking support while navigating a changing future. 

For more on how Covid-19 has changed living and relationship structures, see New-Era Living: Local Cocooning & Community. And look out for New-Era Connections: Revising Relationships & Social Etiquette, publishing in September.