The ‘they’ in this case is the recession. Data from Pew Research shows the impact of the recession on the young people and especially where they live (back home).
Just get your head around this fact: “13% of parents with grown children say one of their adult sons or daughters has moved back home in the past year.” That is a big change in the dynamics of the household and they way it operates and purchases.
Overall, the proportion of adults ages 18 to 29 who live alone declined from 7.9% in 2007 to 7.3% in 2009. Similar drops in the proportion of young people who live by themselves occurred during or immediately after the recessions of 1982 and 2001.
The current decline has been particularly steep among young women; the proportion who live by themselves fell by a full percentage point to 6.1%. Among young men, the share living on their own fell 0.2 percentage points to 8.4%, a statistically insignificant change.
While the recession has touched Americans of all ages, it has been particularly hard on young adults. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a smaller share of 16- to 24-year-olds are currently employed—46.1%—than at any time since the government began collecting such data in 1948.
That’s terrible, but putting the social implications to one side, marketers must understand the implications on the priorities they give to the generations. Yoof seems to me to be going down the list.