DINK Time!

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Dual income no kids (DINK) families now represent 6.3% of U.S. households (8.2 million). And no surprise, average household income for DINKs is 34% higher than average ($138,000). Notably, DINKs tend to live in metro areas, with St. Louis and Minneapolis / St. Paul as the top two cities where such households represent almost 10% of the total.

The trend for DINK households is likely to continue, as 27% of Gen Z people do not want to have kids, with most of those expecting to become a DINK household. Why? The cost of raising a child to age 17 now is $310,000! Add college education expenses on top of that ($91,000 for instate and $207,000 for private colleges over 4 years), and each kid has a price tag of more than $517,000! Yikes!

Marketing to DINKs

There are several subtypes of DINK households with widely varying needs and preferences.

New couples.

Many in this segment are setting up their own households with new jobs after college. Some of them move to the location of their new employer, while others stick close to home. In any event, home furnishings plus kitchen supplies are top priorities for their apartment, condo, or first home. Since each person grew up with their own brands, now is also a good opportunity to get them to be aware of new products so they will consider switching. Just because Mom used Crest toothpaste for her entire life doesn’t mean that you must be loyal.

With two jobs and two new careers getting off the ground, convenience and time saving content and messaging is likely to resonate. Disposable income will typically be spent on necessities in the first year or so, with discretionary spending directed to restaurants and entertainment. After a pandemic forced many of these folks to stay home over the past several years, there is a good chance that some of these new households will have a higher propensity to cook meals at home. Get in there early to establish brand preference that can last a lifetime. Since these couples are highly likely to relocate for better jobs in the years ahead, make your best efforts to keep them as customers! Of course, some in this group may ultimately decide to have a child, so as we all know, that changes everything.

Empty nesters.

The kids have now graduated from high school and are off to college. Careers are well established, with peak earnings years ahead. Couples in their late 40’s and 50’s will now be able to shift to more serious planning for retirement. They have the flexibility to do more discretionary things like travel, vacations, nights out on the town—maybe even some nicer jewelry or fancier cars. This is deferred gratification for some folks, catching up on lost time for others.

Given the hectic schedules and family juggling that consumed their lives before, these folks will want to indulge where they can. But they will also be discriminating potential clients. So, tell your brand story persuasively and include the “what’s in it for me” set of benefits. If your product or service is experiential in nature, use lots of compelling imagery. And engage them in your digital assets so that they can learn more, especially if it is a higher price tag purchase. Remember that these couples now have the gift of free time, and the flexibility to be more spontaneous occasionally.

Gay couples.

This group can be very valuable as they tend to be brand loyal, and in general, better educated. Appropriate imagery and messaging are critical. With due respect and recognition of their needs, you have the chance to be the brand of choice for years to come. These folks are well connected, and they are active on social media platforms. They seek out and act on peer and user reviews. And they want to make well-informed choices and decisions.

Here again, as their careers blossom, they will have more discretionary income available to pursue luxury experiences and purchases. And this segment is less likely to have kids down the road.

One potential common denominator across all DINK segments is pets.

In fact, there is an acronym (of course): DINKWAD (DINK with a dog). Not only will they dote on their pets, but love of pets also draws these individuals together.

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