By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG
It 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.