Family life in the UK is changing. The Housewives with Children demographic as a means for media planning and buying has never felt more generic and misrepresentative. the7stars Lightbox research & insight team recently completed an extensive quantitative and qualitative research project encompassing an attitudinal segmentation of 9.3million families in the UK, followed by a bespoke online community and ethnographies with families around the country, to help understand what a modern family in the UK really looks like. Here’s a taster of what we found…

There’s no such thing as an average family
2.4 is no more, with the typical number of kids per family in the UK now 1.8. On the flipside, we’re seeing bigger family units with the prevalence of extended families living together. While this may sound like a story of happy families, we know that for the majority of parents the ‘Family First’ mantra is no longer always true. We learnt that it’s important to consider not only the collective group, but also to understand the individual mindsetand needs within the family unit.

Parents look to social media for escape
Seven out of ten parents say they enjoy spending time by themselves, and six out of ten Millennial parents say they turn to social media to escape the chore of daily family life. We also found that while one in three parents admit they’re not sure what their kids are doing on social media, more interestingly almost one in five wouldn’t want their kids to know what they’re up to.

Personal luxuries are a must –regardless of wealth
While it may seem obvious that some of the wealthiest families in the UK regularly treat themselves to personal luxuries (through the means of buying possessions and time) it is also increasingly happening among some of the least well-off families –the personal luxury may be of a lower financial value, but the value of importance is equal.

TV first
Media can be both friend and foe to family life. TV is overwhelmingly still the medium of choice to bring families together, while other screens in the home are felt to cause as much enjoyment as they do arguments.
These insights demonstrate that parents across the board seek personal escape and individual indulgences that reaffirm their own identity outside of their family. It gets even more interesting by segmenting these families to learn more about their motivations.