Flooring Purchase Priorities by Generation

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

BoomersIt is more than amazing that buying habits can be defined by generation.  Take that a step further, and marketing surveys can now define what affluent members of each generation value and where they are likely to spend their dollars.

Baby Boomers (ages 50 to 69) include nearly half of all millionaires in the United States (around 10 million actually).  The priorities for this generation revolve around security and safety.  As that translates to their homes, they are not spending money frivolously and don’t care much about impressing others with conspicuous consumption.  But they will spend money on luxury products that enhance their comfort, safety and security.  Floor coverings contribute to two of those three points.  As an example, carpet, cork floors, and anti-slip LVT all have the capacity to add comfort and a measure of safety to the home.

GenXers (ages 35 to 49), which include 4 million millionaires, are heavily focused on their growing families, paying for college expenses, having a reserve of funds for emergencies, and keeping their assets within their control.  This generation may have less disposable income, but quality, branded items appeal to them—not because of the prestige of the brand, but because of the consistent quality established brands represent.

Millennials (ages 19 to 34) include 5 million millionaires.  Their focus revolves around remaining financially independent and saving for the future to start a family and purchase a first home.  With a home purchase being a major point of focus for Millennials, interior design goods (including floor coverings) are very important.  Product development teams would do well to create consumer goods targeted to Millennials.

It speaks well of Americans that flaunting wealth is not a common behavior in our post-Recession society.  According to survey results from the American Affluence Research Center’s Spring 2014 Affluent Market Tracking, consumers from all three generations are showing less interest in material consumption and more importance in intrinsic values: enhancing well-being, spending more time with family, and enjoying new experiences.

This same survey revealed that affluent customers have (or are planning to) reduce expenditures for luxury goods such as jewelry, watches, automobiles and high fashion.  Instead, they prefer to invest in home remodeling, new furniture, new floor coverings, new appliances and new home technology.  That’s exciting news for those of us dedicated to the floor covering industry.  Contributing to consumers’ comfort, safety and well-being is a worthwhile endeavor, and one that the floor covering industry will continue to address.

Taking Flooring Back to School

By Annette Callari, Allied, ASID; CMG

mag_2_300It’s always an honor to be invited to speak to interior design students.  Orange Coast College in Southern California was my destination last week to give a presentation to the Design Department Materials and Resources class.  As these students are broadening their knowledge in so many areas of design, I recommended that they start a personal “resource file” to organize their material discoveries from A to Z.  “F” being the focus of the day, I did an in-depth presentation on floor covering materials (of course) addressing both features and benefits of the various product categories.

I realized that this exercise of putting together a flooring resource file was a great idea not only for the students, but for future home buyers, soon-to-be-remodelers, and anyone considering new floor coverings.  The choices in flooring today are staggering, and unless you are willing to do a little hunting and gathering of information, you will be overwhelmed.  So invest in an expanding folder (not everything has to be filed on your lap-top, you know) and start collecting.

First and foremost, start gathering pictures of room scenes that have the look that you want.  Start by sorting information by flooring type:  carpet, tile, luxury vinyl woods & tiles, cork floors, hardwood floors, etc.  As you visit retail flooring stores, gather more information—manufacturers’ brochures, warranty information, care and maintenance information, and add that to your resource file.

What begins by casting a wide net will then take on a more directed focus.  You get to see all your options, and then narrow in on what really appeals to you— and from a functional standpoint–what suits your lifestyle.  This tangible file helps you sift through a plethora of options to drill down to the ones that fit you.  It’s fun, it helps you get focused and organized, and the end result is that you can make an educated, well-informed decision about what flooring you want to live with.

With your homework done, your retail flooring professional will take it from there and find exactly the products that suit you.  If this sounds too much like being back in school—if you aren’t a hands-on, research-savvy kind of person, that’s okay too.  Find a reputable flooring retailer (wfca.org, click on “Find a Retailer”) and he (or she) will give you a crash course in what you need to know to get you walking on just the right floor.

There is no denying that floor coverings are the foundation for your home and your lifestyle.  It’s important, and it’s an investment.  None of us can afford to make a mistake, so if you are up to the task, get started on your very own resource treasury.  I promise, it will be well worth the time and effort.