How to Better Serve Your Customers in a Dynamic Home Improvement Landscape

The home improvement industry is no stranger to change, and today it’s quickly evolving parallel to emerging social, technological and economic trends. These fast changes mean that more than ever, brands must carefully consider what’s happening now, next steps and the evolution of consumers’ motivations and marketplace expectations. 

Here are highlights from our recent Building the Future study.

The role of social factors in home improvement

Traditional life stage trajectories are changing. Today, businesses must think about consumers according to their life stage, rather than age. Life paths are increasingly becoming more flexible, especially when it comes to millennials. For example, millennials’ delayed movement to family formation is increasing the average age of first-time parents. And while nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population is more than 65 years old, age isn’t their only defining quality.

Instead, consumer age perceptions are developing to have multiple layers that tell a better story, such as household structure and work habits. These layers differentiate between emotional age, health age and leisure age. The bottom line? Age is becoming more complex, and brands should take note to better target shoppers based on these factors.

Today, household diversity is also a major influence on the adoption of innovative home products. The so-called traditional household is disappearing, social norms are changing, and multigenerational and non-family houses are on the rise. In fact, in 2016, non-family households accounted for nearly 35 percent of all U.S. households. Within two years, single-person households will grow to 18 percent of total households worldwide — and 50 million of those will be in the U.S.

Social media is changing, too, partly because so many people are always connected. Today, more than 70 percent of Americans have a smartphone in their hands. Together, they make up part of the 2.3 billion people around the globe who are active on social media.

Social media connectivity is a fast-moving train, and like social media usage, it will only continue to grow. As social media evolves, it’s important to understand how platforms like Facebook and Instagram work and the purpose they serve.

To better serve customers in a changing social landscape, ask yourself these six questions:

  1. What are similarities and differences of younger and older consumers’ shopping preferences? Do you have preconceived notions that are interfering with your ability to adequately serve your customers?
  2. As consumer identities shift, how can you represent their identity layers (household structure, work, gender, etc.) in your communications?
  3. What communication methods are you using to communicate with consumers? Are these the most effective ways to reach your target audience?
  4. Do you know who makes the household decisions, and do you understand why?
  5. Where are your customers on social media? Where are they looking for your brand or product on social platforms? Are you there?
  6. Are you thinking outside of your brand? In other words, are you facilitating social connections between shoppers and consumers?

The full Building the Future study is available to HIRI members. To access this study and learn more about the technological, economic, environmental and health factors that shape the consumers you want to reach, JOIN HIRI.

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