Consumer Psychographics


New Home Buyer Behaviors

  • Psychographics emerged in the 1960s as a focus on personality categorization, related behavior and interests of the mind.
  • The word is a combination of psychology and demographics although the primary emphasis is on grouping people by their interests and related predictability of purchasing behaviorisms. In the mid 1970s, Demby defined it as the practical application of the behavioral sciences to marketing research.
  • Over the past 25 years, a variety of national market research methods have evolved to profile human psychographics in the United States and other countries.  Most are rooted in the “hierarchy of human needs” developed by Abraham Maslow in the mid 20th century. 
  • Maslow classified human development in terms of four stages related to advances in living standards as illustrated.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for Real Estate Professionals as perceived by Parker Associates
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Real Estate Professionals as perceived by Parker Associates
  • At the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy is “survival” for adults living in the impoverished situation experienced by billions of persons in developing countries throughout the world and a significant minority in the United States.
  • As survival needs are satisfied, humans move into social relationships through “belonging” to a group, association, community and/or country.  This belonging stage has been the predominant lifestyle for 20th century Americans and has continued into the 21st century.  Once people achieve the security of belonging to a community or other social group, many develop a desire for individual achievement, which Maslow described as “Self-Esteem.”  This third stage of human development is outer-directed individuality constrained by prevalent acceptable behavior.
  • Organized competitive endeavor is a hallmark of this stage as exemplified by upper-middle class technical, professional, and managerial workers in developed countries.  The small proportion of people capable of directing their own life direction is categorized by Maslow as in the highest stage of development which he termed “self-actualization”. It includes people who have achieved self-esteem and material success which he estimated at less than 5 percent of the population.
  • Thus, as illustrated, the Maslow hierarchy of needs is changing shape relative to increasing numbers of persons in the higher categories of self-development, particularly the category of Self-Esteem personalities.
  • With accelerating advances in civilization over the past century, large segments of the population have moved up from the survival to belonging stages in developed countries and increasing numbers continue to move from belonging to Self-Esteem and even to Self-Actualization.

Sunbelt Retirees

  • About 20 percent of all Florida new home sales are retirees (regardless of community and housing product targeting considerations).  The vast majority pay cash.
  • While Northeast Florida is not considered among the top destinations in the State for retirees – the immense military presence in this market attracts and motivates many retired military personnel who worked here in their career to relocate to this area at the end of their careers.
  • Over the past 50 years a small proportion of American retirees (less than 10 percent) have sought warm climate and lower cost of living for a permanent or seasonal retirement home.  Florida has been the favorite destination, with Arizona, Texas and other Sunbelt states gaining in popularity.
  • The majority of older retirees could be classified as “Belongers” with strong preferences for belonging to social groupings, thus the proliferation of fraternal and service organizations (Masons, Elks, Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.) throughout United States and Canada during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
  • Their preference for a group lifestyle supported the success and proliferation of gated recreational-based communities throughout the Sunbelt.  These traditional retirees are strongly influenced by formative childhood years in the depression of the 1930s and scarcity of the following World War II years.  Frugality is a lifelong characteristic for most of this older generation, but the younger Baby Boomers have exhibited much stronger spending habits.

Consumer Transition

  • Births in this country declined rapidly during the depression decade of the 1930s – – the birth years of current 70+ year-olds.
  • The first five years of the 1940s witnessed a surge of births (“war babies”) preceding the highly publicized baby boom surge of 77 million births from 1946-64; these 15 million war babies are the leading edge of the baby boom rather than the widely publicized 1946 start year.
  • Birth rates caused a dramatic growth in the current 55-64 age group, now responsible for a surge in retiree migration to the Sunbelt states, with Florida the leading recipient. Thus, the demographic target group for many areas is a broad range of ages illustrated.
US Birth Rates and Generations for Real Estate Professionals as perceived by Parker Associates
US Birth Rates and Generations for Real Estate Professionals as perceived by Parker Associates

New Age Retirees

  • A majority of persons born after 1940 retain their childhood training of a desire for quality possessions. This, coupled with Maslow’s “Self-esteem” that is supported by higher education and income achievements, is better than their predecessors.
  • Rather than the value orientation of traditional retirees, New Age retirees are directed toward challenges and new experiences manifested in diverse activity living environments; their lifelong desire for Self-esteem causes them to seek acknowledgement and recognition that translates into status orientation for material possessions such as automobiles and homes (Achievers) and value orientation for an increasing number of Self-esteem households (Realists).

Parker Associates works extensively on understanding your market, your consumer, and your goals. We don’t take guesses, we take the time and commit the resources to researching the market and the consumer to make sure we get it right.  We are YOUR advocate by being the CONSUMER’S advocate.

Spend time looking at what you are trying to acquire, develop, or sell to learn how you can improve the success of what you are offering. Parker Associates helps understand the consumer by answering WHO will buy, WHAT they will buy, and HOW they will buy it.  When the research is completed and the analysis is done, having the answers to these questions will reveal what will provide the best success for your project.  Keep asking WHO, WHAT, and HOW and keep developing to fit the need.

The Parker Associates process starts with a confidential review and consultation to learn more about our processes. Then Contact Us to put Parker Associates to work for you.

David WB Parker is a principal of Parker Associates of Jacksonville, Florida, marketing consultants to the real estate industry; President of PTC Computer Solutions, IT Specialist, and an active real estate sales professional with PARFAM REALTY based in Jacksonville, FL.  He can be reached at 904-607-8763 or via email

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