Marketing Home Products to “Ruppies”: Reaching Out to an Overlooked Population

Posted by Steve Kleber on Jun 02, 2009

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By and large, retirement no longer means moving to a beach resort or assisted living community. The emergence of “Ruppies” (also known as retired urban people) has changed all of that. They’ve also caused marketers in the home and building channel to change their tune in the way they approach the growing consumer segment.

Comprised of affluent empty nesters, Ruppies are characterized as being born between 1946 and 1964. What’s more, they’re not going quietly into retirement. Trading in large, single-family homes for urban living spaces close to the action, Ruppies are setting the new standard for life after retirement – something to which we as marketers and those in the home and building channel must get accustomed.

Shattering the Stereotypes
According to MSNBC.Com, every eight seconds a baby boomer retires and becomes a Ruppie. Motivated by a desire to stay young and fit, Ruppies are looking to remain an integral part of what’s happening around them. Not to be confused with yuppies, this segment is not preoccupied with material things, yet wants to help strengthen their community and build unity among its members. No longer tied down by school districts and long work commutes, they live where and how they wish.

Housing Preferences—Forget Florida!
Ruppies are moving out of suburbia and into high-density communities found in big cities. They are choosing housing options within walking distance to public transportation, retail stores, parks, entertainment and restaurants. For Ruppies, finding the right location is key to staying young, healthy and active.

Builders and developers are increasingly investing in high-density housing that allows for more of a village-like atmosphere to attract more Ruppies as they have a large amount of accumulated wealth and aren’t settling in the same places they used to.

Capturing Ruppies’ Coveted Income
When making purchasing decisions, price is not always the determining factor among Ruppies. Safety and convenience are typically the underlying factors when buying. Ruppies also tend to have a socially conscious attitude, meaning the products and companies they choose to buy and buy from must resonate this prevailing outlook. What’s more, brand loyalty isn’t as important as quality of service

A New View on Retirement
Not surprisingly, the majority of Ruppies feel they are inappropriately represented in ad and marketing campaigns. This dynamic group is stripping away the labels of retirement with its activity, confidence and involvement in the community. Trying to reach them with a mass-market strategy simply does not work. Home product manufacturers, developers, architects and remodelers that speak to them appropriately and provide them with information and services that meet their new needs for living is a recipe destined for success.

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 at 10:25 am and is filed under Marketing, Research. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.