The family life cycle represents a method via which the market for certain goods and services is segmented according to the stage in the family life that the particular consumer has reached. This marketing method takes into consideration the family configuration beginning with young, single persons with no children all the way up through marriage, child rearing, and retirement stages. The variables involved in each stage of the model include age, marital status, income, employment (career), and the existence of children (Fritzsche, 1981).
One stage in this model is the bachelor stage, which describes persons who no longer live with parents but who have not married or become parents. They usually have a high level of discretionary income despite the fact that their incomes lower than average. Because of the fewer financial burdens (mortgages, children, etc.) and their commitment to recreation, such persons are usually interested in buying clothing, travel, and basic household furniture or equipment.
One magazine that could be used as a marketing tool is People, and TLC’s What Not to Wear represents a television program that would be suitable to this group. Both would be effective as they cater to fashion and to the entertainment interests of that group.
Another marketing group according to this model is the Full Nest One (Fritzsche, 1981). The Full Nest One stage finds new parents with their youngest child being under the age of six. The parents at this stage have low discretionary incomes because the demands of the children are placed at the highest priority (1981). These persons are therefore likely only to buy necessities, such as cereals, diapers, and children’s clothing. A television show and magazine that are likely marketing tools for this demographic are (respectively) FOX’s Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and Disney’s Family Fun magazine. Parents are likely to watch or read them with their children.
The Full Nest Three stage describes older parents with high school or college age children. These persons have a better financial position, with wives likely to be at work and more discretionary income (Fritzsche, 1981). Such a household is likely to be interested in buying holidays, nice furniture, and sophisticated appliances. A good magazine for marketing to such a demographic is Travel and Leisure, as such persons are likely to have the money and time to take vacations. A good television channel for marketing to them is HGTV, as this features tastefully decorated homes that may give them ideas for buying furniture and appliances.
Fritzsche, D. J. (1981). “An analysis of energy consumption patterns by stage of family life cycle.” Journal of Marketing Research, 18, pp.227-32.