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Brand Strategy Key Findings: November 2012

The Death of Ownership

The Death of Ownership

The concept of shopping is shifting from “owning stuff” to “buying into new ideas.” Researchers first identified this behavior in Millennials and then in the Gen Ys, noticing the general lack of interest in owning things such as cars. And the trend may be extending to other generations as well.

Citing an evolution in consciousness, some experts are saying U.S. consumers are starting to think differently about what it means to ‘own’ something. Ambivalence toward ownership is emerging in many areas, from music to entertainment consumption. Our reason for buying stuff is becoming more about what we get from the acquisition.

Trend watchers also have spotted a surge in renting expensive clothing, cars by-the-hour and even furniture, citing that younger consumers especially are “scared of commitment, want to be light on their feet, and need to adjust to whatever happens.”

The recession, as well as stricter lending practices and higher down payment requirements has played a key role in more singles and families deciding to rent housing rather than purchase. First-time homebuyers in 2011 accounted for the smallest percentage of the total since 2006. Yet, the vacancy rate of U.S. rental properties is at its lowest since 2002. (;


  • 81% of consumers age 50 through 64 buy American because they believe it helps the economy. (Perception Research Services International, AARP magazine)
  • About 120,000 beekeepers are practicing their craft in the U.S. (, AARP magazine)
  • Shorter subject lines ensure your email is read: more than 50 characters and you’re wasting your time. (
  • Now at record highs, the average age of U.S. brides today is 26.5; the average age of grooms is 28.5. (
  • About 626,000 men in the U.S. have left the workforce entirely to raise children, or maintain freelance or part-time jobs, but serve as primary caretakers of children under age 15 while their wives work. (U.S. Census Bureau,
  • 40% of American women now make more than their husbands. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  • 1 in 10 American households rent a storage unit. (Self Storage Association; NY Times)

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