Moving house? Your friendly neighbourhood marketer wants to be your best friend.

As someone who has moved home in the past 6 months and from renting furnished to having a mortgage and no furniture, I’ve been struck by just how impactful the event of moving is in one’s life. Of course there is the stress of moving, the excitement at getting your keys, the frustration of slow-moving solicitors and the myriad factors that can all go wrong. But what struck me about my move was really none of that.

In the days, weeks and months that unfolded what I noticed most was the change in my shopping behaviour – anything from actual purchases to browsing online and doing lots of future thinking. The change really was quite stark online where my browsing went from saved bookmarks, YouTube and random quests to Wikipedia to know-how about DIY, kitchen and bathroom cleaning products and the obligatory new TV.

The obvious spending increase and switch to a raft of new products and services is well-documented but what can market researchers do to help their clients reach this dynamic audience? From a sampling point of view, this isn’t the most straightforward of targets. Furthermore, one tends not to be a regular buyer of houses: it’s pretty much every 23 years in the UK according to Zoopla. This means there isn’t for example a direct marketing database to tap into. In the UK at least, around 400 000 – 500 000 people move home each year (700 000 was the highpoint in 2007), so this doesn’t make a random sample viable. And even if we were to allow for age / life stage and model respondents this way, the incidence will still be too low and the cost too high.

What then is the way forward for researchers and marketers looking to speak to movers? We would recommend tracking behaviour (with consent) longitudinally. This could be via permission-based cookies, as some agencies use to produce their report for the travel industry around which destinations will be popular this year through to which ads have been seen or even clicked through to. Flagging top-level sites such as estate agents would be an early indicator and a further report on other websites could then follow.

Another possibility is to track respondents using one of the many omnibus services out there – be it online or phone. From a n=1000 sample we would expect around 30-40 respondents to be moving over the course of a year. Not a huge amount, but crucially it is easier to ask these people further follow-ups via the omnibus in question. Do you expect to be moving house in the coming 3/6/12 months? If yes, please answer the following…

Given the shifting nature of this group but the high-spend and behaviour-changing occasion, it is surely worth investing in an ongoing solution to tap into these people and understand if/how/when/why they start their journey.

If you would like to find out more about our targeted consumer sample, please click here.