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Inside Info: Homebuyers Are Appliance Buyers – and Radio Listeners.

Home building and buying have boomed during the pandemic. During August, single-family housing starts increased 4.1% from July and 12.1% from August 2019. According to the National Association of Realtors, August 2020 sales of existing homes increased 24.2% year-over-year.

Replacing appliances is often new homeowners’ first improvement. In fact, so many want new appliances the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers reported wholesale shipments of freezers to dealers increased 49% during the first three quarters of 2020, compared to 2019.

Recent consumer survey data from The Media Audit reveals 47.4% of adults 25-49 and 43.6% of adults 50+ are planning to buy a major household appliance during the next 12 months. Younger adults are either buying a home for the first time or upgrading to a larger home while many older adults are refurbishing their homes to age in place.

“A compilation of consumer data from 60 markets indicates three-quarters of adults 25-49 and almost two-thirds of adults planning to buy an appliance listen to at least 60 minutes of radio daily,” said Nick Miller, VP, The Media Audit.

Among adults 25-49 that plan to buy a major household appliance in the next 12 months, 34.7% are heavy daily radio listeners (180+ minutes) and 40.4% are medium daily radio listeners (60-179 minutes). Of particular interest to appliance retailers is 25.8% of all adults 25-49 are heavy daily radio listeners, but those planning to buy an appliance are almost 10 points higher.

Among adults 50+ planning to buy an appliance, a much larger percentage are medium daily radio listeners (41.4%) than heavy daily listeners (20.9%). Nonetheless, their heavy daily listening is five percentage points higher than heavy daily radio listening for all adults 50+.

A household-income comparison finds 48.6% of adults 25-49 and 48.2% of adults 50+ who plan to buy an appliance have household incomes in the range of $50,000–$149,999.

The above-average incomes of those employed in these age groups, especially the younger group, indicate they are more likely to retain their jobs during the pandemic, thus ensuring most will be able to buy a major appliance during the next 12 months.

“Overlooking older adults’ trillions of consumer dollars has been a major flaw in the thinking of marketers for many decades,” said Miller. “A constant focus on the traditional 18–49 demo is no longer the only winning strategy and The Media Audit data for appliance buyers supports more targeting of older adults.”

Although the data illuminates a ripe opportunity for appliance dealers during the current home-buying boom, any substantial increase in mortgage rates could stifle the market. That suggests appliance dealers should advertise aggressively now to maximize sales.

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