Consumers in Transition: Who They Are, How They Search, and Where they Shop
According to one estimate, new movers spend about $9,000 per move. Those expenses include directly relevant costs like transportation, storage and moving supplies, but it also includes things like furniture, home renovations and landscaping.
Movers are not only a high-spending segment, they are also in a transitional stage which makes them more open to finding useful services and developing new brand loyalties. Hitwise created a custom “movers” audience (see final page for details on how this segment was built), and measured their behavior over the first six months of 2017. This report breaks down where movers go online, what they search for, and the brands they engage with before and after they move.
Hitwise estimates that 4.9 million Americans were actively coordinating a move in the first half of 2017. Women are more likely than men to be in the driver’s seat of a move, and people aged 35 to 44 are the most likely age group to be moving. Those with a college degree and those with household incomes of $100,000+ are also more likely than average to move.
Cities on the Move
Whether moving across town or across the country, Hitwise found that cities in the South and West are more likely to be home to movers. Topping the list is Austin, where residents are 67% more likely than average to be moving. Austin has a strong population of college students, which likely drives up this index up.
Companies with local branches, like retailers, banks or storage facilities, may want to localize marketing efforts to win over people who are moving from, or within, these neighborhoods:
Top Indexing Industries
When we break down the types of websites movers visit, it’s no surprise that they’re 2.8 times more likely than average to visit Utility sites, given that most of them will need to open new power and cable contracts. In fact, movers may be more at risk to join the “cord-cutter” movement, opting to get their video content from streaming sources rather than cable or satellite. In fact, movers are 2.2 times more likely than average to conduct searches that include “watch online.”
They’re also 2.6 times more likely to visit local Government sites where they can learn more about local services, and over twice as likely to visit Health Insurance sites. Major life events are also strongly tied to home moves: this group is 2.4 times more likely to visit Wedding sites and 2.1 times more likely to visit Baby sites.
Real Estate Sites: Reach Movers, Not Browsers
Many visitors to Real Estate websites are not actually going to move in the near future. An analysis of the visitors to top real estate sites can tell us which sites are best for connecting with “high-intent” movers rather than browsers.
For instance, Zillow.com reached 74% of movers during the first six months of 2017, but only 6.6% of Zillow visitors were identified as movers. This suggests that many Zillow visitors are just browsing, perhaps to check home prices in an up-and-coming neighborhood, or how much their neighbor’s house costs. Hotpads.com, on the other hand, reached just 16% of movers during the same time, but 12.8% of all of their visitors were in the “movers” segment, meaning their their audience is comprised of more committed movers.
Movers Want to Know “How To” Do It All
Movers are in a heightened state of information gathering, and they are 2.8X more likely than average to conduct searches including “how to”.
Movers are more than three times as likely to search for home-related searches like “how to remove popcorn ceilings”, “how to clean grout”, and “how to paint a room”. They’re also over twice as likely to search for job-related how-to’s such as “how to negotiate a salary”, “how to accept a job offer”, and “how to ask for a raise”.
Marketers attempting to reach movers might add some of these searches to their paid search campaigns. For instance, a real estate company or mortgage lender could target people who search for “how to accept a job offer” with branding campaigns featuring a message such as “You got the job! Let us find your new home!” These types of searches could be less competitive (and less costly) to bid on than more directly-related real estate searches like “mortgage calculator” or “houses in Dallas”.
Sprucing Up the Place
A new home creates lots of reasons to shop. In fact, movers are more likely to visit every single top 500 online retail site than the average person. Top websites where movers can be found in the highest concentrations include home furnishing sites like West Elm, Restoration Hardware, and Crate & Barrel.
The most common product searches for movers are not entirely dissimilar from the population at large, although movers are even more likely to search for them. For instance, one in 833 Americans searched for Sonos during the first six months of the year, while one in 323 movers conducted the same search (meaning they are 2.6 times more likely to search for the high-end speakers). Home goods naturally top this list, but movers are also likely to search for fitness trackers, e-readers, and even engagement rings.
Getting to Know the Neighborhood
Once the move is complete, movers start getting to know their neighborhood. One common way they do that is by conducting “near me” searches. In fact, movers are 88% more likely than average to conduct a search with the phrase “near me.” Aside from the moving-related searches (storage units near me, apartments near me, etc.), movers are noticeably more likely to search for food options and food delivery (see numbers in blue).
Oftentimes, brands spend a lot of money buying expensive targeted lists in order to reach movers. But by sponsoring online ads for search variations like these, marketers can get a head-start on the competition and connect with new move-ins before they even get the key to their mailbox. For instance, Whole Foods could offer searchers for “delivery near me” with $100 in free groceries as a “welcome to the neighborhood” campaign.
Boomer movers-those ages 55-64-are also likely to conduct “near me” searches, but they have different priorities from other movers. For instance, they are over twice as likely than all movers to search for “lawn care near me.” Boomers are also more likely to seek out services for their four-legged friends with searches around cat and dog boarding, as well as nearby pet stores, consistently indexing above average. Meanwhile, Boomer movers are less likely to search for nearby delivery or restaurant options.