If you’ve ever seen expectant parents in a baby shop, you’d know that pregnancy is a life stage that usually triggers an avalanche of consumerism.
I (thankfully) never tallied what I spent during my pregnancy, I just know that becoming a mum, while filling my heart, has drained my wallet in ways I haven’t experienced since my wedding over three years ago.
But it’s not just weddings and babies that prompt purchases across multiple categories, from fashion to florists, finance to furniture.
When my divorce was finalised recently, while it was day tinged with sadness, I also saw it as an opportunity to create a new chapter. I decided to embark on a mini bedroom makeover so off to my local homewares store I went in search of new pink sheets. Yes, pink sheets to mark the new, single, happy-in-my-own-skin and alone-in-my-big-bed me. (I’m well aware this makes me a walking cliche but an unapologetic cliche nonetheless).
In I marched to Bed, Bath and Table and was excited to immediately spot a set of dusty pink bamboo sheets. I carefully peeled open the corner of the packaging and felt the fabric between my fingers and was sold immediately. Soft as silk, pink bamboo sheets. Take. My. Money.
Just as I was mentally curating my new blush boudoir, I was approached by a lovely sales assistant to see if I needed any help. We chatted for a while about the merits of bamboo as a natural fibre and then she asked me if the sheets were a gift or for me. I explained that the sheets were part of a mini bedroom makeover to mark my new marital status and she giggled immediately.
‘You’re the third woman this week who’s purchased these very same sheets for the very same reason’, she said.
I was slightly stunned. Who would have thought the burgeoning post-divorce pink bedsheet market was such a thing?!
While I was back at home making the bed, I got curious about life-stage marketing beyond the obvious. Simply drawing on my own example, I realised that life-stage changes and events trigger purchases in a range of unexpected categories. Furniture, financial services, flowers, food (of the chocolate and ice cream variety) – all categories where my purchase behaviour has changed as a result of a life stage change.
Whether it’s a breakup, a break down, a big birthday, starting a new business, buying a new home, becoming an empty-nester, retirement … they’re all milestones that prompt new purchases, brand evaluation and opportunities for you to connect with new customers or strengthen the connection you have to existing ones.
What life stage changes could your brand be a greater part of? It might not be as literal or specific as pink sheets but worth brainstorming on.