Getting to know Gen Y

In the presentation, “Home Improvement Retail 2013 and Beyond,” Laura Kennedy, senior analyst at Kantar Retail based in Cambridge, Mass., presented interesting insight into generational trends, specifically focused on technology and the influence it has over the next largest population segment, Gen Y (10 to 30 years old, though for this research, 18 to 30 years.)

Currently, pent-up demand is a current driver of home improvement, but as Kennedy points out,  that trend will die out once those improvements have been made. The opportunity, she says, lies in the discretionary projects related to the desire to fix up current homes instead of moving (26% respondents reported this reason) and making long-term investments in the home’s value (23%).

According to Kennedy, Gen Y will replace Boomers as the largest population segment by 2020, consisting of 53% the total population.

Although it is still beneficial for remodelers to focus on the Boomer generation, they should be thinking about who the Gen-Yers are and how they make decisions when it comes to remodeling.

Kennedy’s research shows, Gen-Yers prefer to:

  • Use mobile devices to research buying decision through either manufacturer/retailer sites, or by asking peers in social networks. (Many times from inside of a store.)
  • Using apps, either to devise a shopping list, as reported by 19% of respondents to the Kantar Retail ShopperScape, or shop with a retailer’s app.
  • Buy online through sites like Amazon.com, because of convenience, speed and accessibility to a variety of options, pricing and product information.
  • Research price, deals, availability, quality, or watch how-to videos before leaving the house to purchase an item.

How-to videos were emphasized as an important tool for this generation that is largely unaware of home improvement Itopics such as the process, how to use products and what options are available when redoing a room. Remodelers have an opportunity to show Gen-Yers that their knowledge and expertise is something they will need to complete a successful project.

Read Technology’s role in home improvement for a look at which technologies are used by consumers and where remodelers need to be in order to capture a client’s attention.

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