NEW YORK The Knot Inc. has identified a demographic subset of women who are going through a series of intense, mega-life-changes in a compressed period of time — and as a result are spending as much on consumer goods as they’ve ever spent in their lives.
The digital media company, best known for its core wedding-centric site TheKnot.com, recently conducted a study in conjunction with global research firm OTX. The result was the classification of this marketing-friendly group dubbed “Nesties” — 25-to-32-year-old women who are getting engaged, planning weddings, shopping for houses and preparing to have kids — essentially planning for the next 20 years of their lives during a tight three- to four-year window.
According to the elaborate report, which surveyed over 6,000 women this past February, the Nesties wield a whopping $283 billion in spending power. Yet, because of the heavy expenses incurred during many of their life-changing events, finances are top of mind. as Less than a quarter claim to “only think about finances when they absolutely have to,” according to the report. Half of Nesties say they are overwhelmed by financial burdens, and close to 70 percent say they are cautious about spending on non-essentials.
Despite the recession, they are still spending on major purchases like houses, wedding dresses and cribs. “They are in the market at the same time for more things than maybe any other point in their lives,” said Knot CEO David Liu.
But what’s so different about Nesties? Haven’t women always gotten engaged, married and settled into family life? Not at such an accelerated pace, according to Liu. And most used to follow a more defined, linear path.
“What we’ve seen from this research is that there is a big overlap between engagement, being a newlywed and having a baby,” said Liu. “Much more so than we anticipated. These life-stages are being compressed.”
Liu said that when TheKnot.com launched in 1999, the average age for a bride was 24. Today, it’s 27-plus. “When you get married at 24, you are not necessarily thinking about a baby. When you get married at 27, that biological clock is suddenly ticking. It’s causing some interesting overlap.”
As a result of delayed marriage, many couples make big lifestage jumps in a non-traditional order, such as first buying a home, then starting a family, and then getting married. “There is this weird almost social shift where these lifestages are not as sequential as in the past,” said Liu. “It’s now one big soup.”
Thus, for media buyers, it’s not as easy to bucket these different lifestages into distinct targets, argues Liu. So how does an advertiser go after Nesties?
“It’s so bloody obvious, but you have to spend towards purchase intent,” he said. That’s where search, behavioral targeting, and not surprisingly, life-stage sites like BabyCenter.com and TheKnot.com, should excel. “The Internet has created these watering holes that didn’t exist before. You can market against time lines,” he said.