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Aug 9, 2016

On the Move

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Planning, organizing, and executing a move to a new home, apartment, dorm, or city is never easy. Between childhood homes, campus dorms, and apartment living, I’ve done my share of moving over the years, and like most U.S. movers I made these moves during the spring and summer months. This means that in addition to shopping for the beach and grill, weddings, graduation parties, and back-to-school, a number of consumers are also purchasing for and partaking in the 35-40 million moves that take place every year in America*.

More than half of annual moves take place from May through September, with approximately 32 percent happening in July and August. In 2015, although September saw a 4 percent drop in moves versus 2014**, the number of moves for the full year has remained relatively steady over the past few years***. However, where consumers are moving to and from has varied. In the U.S., movers are primarily heading South and West. States such as Oregon, South Carolina, and Idaho are experiencing the highest levels of inbound moves. With inbound moves on the rise in these states, the Northeast is experiencing the highest level of outbound moves stemming from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut***. Factors such as booming industries, desire for warmer weather, and increased demand for outdoor activities are contributing to the moving trends. With a boom in their technology and creative marketing sectors, cities like Portland and Seattle are attracting young professionals. As consumers pack up their homes and apartments to move out West and down South, NPD found that sales of packaging products in high outbound regions like the Northeast are seeing the greatest rate of unit growth, at 6 percent****.

Retailers are responding both online and in-store to help make the moving process as painless as possible for consumers. Bundled moving packages are available that incorporate different sized boxes, protective wrapping, labels, markers, and other moving supplies. Promotional discounting when purchasing one product is offered for another. Online suggestion agents help with making sure the consumer remembers all the needed materials for the move, such as having enough packaging tape and protective wrapping. Services allowing the consumer to order online and pick up in-store make acquiring all the needed moving materials more seamless. Also, the ability to make online price comparisons means that the consumer is simultaneously looking for the best price while determining where and how many boxes to buy. Besides looking for a good price, finding quality products that protect and secure the movers’ belongings is a critical part of the purchase decision.

Moving often marks a turning point in someone’s life. It is often an emotional and anxious experience, filled with excitement and concerns for the consumer. Key seasons such as weddings, holidays, and back-to-school may be top of mind for most consumers throughout the year, but with the average American making approximately 11-12 moves during her lifetime*, it is a worthwhile market to pursue. Better understanding the mindset of this consumer can help manufacturers to grow in an opportune space. Generating hype by promoting and communicating the benefits and features of moving supplies may prove to be an advantageous move.  


*U.S. Census Bureau
** The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Omnibus Survey, September 2015
***United Van Lines, United National Movers Study 2015
****The NPD Group, Inc. / Weekly Retail Tracking Service, 52 weeks ending January 02, 2016



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