Family life cycle – What is it, definition and concept | 2022

The family life cycle is the series of stages or phases that occur in a stable and predictable way in most traditional families.

In other words, it can be said that the same family changes its needs depending on the stage through which it passes. The set of these distinguishable phases is known as the family life cycle.

The family life cycle is used to focus marketing efforts to best meet the needs facing a family. This, given that very different needs are faced at each stage of the life cycle. The family life cycle is usually represented by the acronym CVF.

In each life stage of the family cycle, marketing has to implement different strategies in order to better reach each group of customers. This is because at each stage the income level changes, the number of members that make up the family and the age of its members. This means that they need different goods and services according to the phase each family is going through.

Stages of the life cycle of a traditional family

The most important stages of the life cycle of a traditional family are:

1. single

In the first place, we find the single stage that occurs when young people become independent and begin to live alone. At this stage people focus their attention on work, entertainment and how to generate income. Single people aspire to develop professionally, professionally and socially. They buy fashion, leisure, food, personal hygiene and aesthetic products.

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2. Married couples without children

Second, there is the stage of people who get married, but do not yet have children. They are young people who focus on acquiring products especially for the home such as furniture, decoration and appliances. They also spend on travel and buy or snag a house. They usually have an adequate level of income because both spouses work, which means that they buy high-priced, quality products.

3. Married couples with children (full nest)

Thirdly, there is the stage of the married couple with children. At the time of having children, it is said that the family has a full nest. When families reach this stage, most of the income is spent on the children. This stage goes through three moments:

  • Couples with small children: A couple with small children implies that the children are under the age of six. In this phase, what they buy the most are diapers, formulas, bottles, clothes and food for babies or children, toys, educational material, medical and educational services.
  • Couples with children older than six years: When children are over six years old, they become more independent. Although most of the income is still destined for the children, spending on technological, sports, aesthetic products, food and clothing.
  • Couple with children older than 18 years: In this case, the children have already reached the age of majority and are pursuing a university degree. Generally, parents pay for college expenses. But the children are already becoming more independent, although they continue to live with their parents. For that reason, and since families are already better established economically, they could buy new cars or houses.
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4. Married couple when children become independent (empty nest)

Fourth, the phase is reached where couples have children, but the children become independent and leave the house. Therefore, the couple can allocate more money to enjoy together and some of them are already retired, so they have enough time and assets to spend, allocating their money to the purchase of entertainment, leisure, health, aesthetics, and everything related to travel and vacations. This, without neglecting insurance of all kinds.

5. Lonely widowers

Finally, there is the stage of the lonely widowers and it occurs when one of the spouses dies. Regularly, they are already elderly and most of them enjoy their retirement pensions. Additionally, they are people who already have health problems, so the products they consume the most are food supplements, preventive and curative health products, and all kinds of medical services. As they are lonely people, some spend a good part of their money on their pets.

Family Life Cycle
Family Life Cycle Stages

Some differences in the family life cycle

To begin, let’s clarify that the life cycle of a traditional family is different in the case of families living in developed and underdeveloped countries. In developed countries, family life cycles are usually defined as explained above.

But, in the case of some underdeveloped countries, especially the poorest ones, what is different occurs when the children reach adulthood and get married, because they do not leave home. On the contrary, they continue to live in the parental home and later have children. All this implies that in these families the nest is always full and the couple who started the family never ends up alone.

Conclusion on the family life cycle

In conclusion, we can say that these differences are very important for marketing, because it is clear that it is easier to determine what products companies should offer when the stages of family life are well defined, as is normally the case in developed countries. While, in the case of underdeveloped countries where the nest is always full, it is more difficult to hit the right products that will be most needed by families. This is because, within the family structure, there are always children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents living together in the same house.

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