Reaching Next Generation of Home Improvement Consumers Is New Challenge for Retailers

The NPD Group recently released results from a new report "Beyond the Boomers." This report takes a look at the perceptions and behaviors of Baby Boomers, Gen‑X, and Gen‑Y* as they relate to the home improvement marketplace. 

This new home improvement market research study found that there are some similarities between these groups when it comes to making home improvement purchases, but there are also differences retailers and manufacturers should be watching.

The results of the study found that Baby Boomers have already acquired the majority of their tools; 72% own a hand saw, and 90% own a tape measure, and as this generation ages, they grow less likely to perform certain home improvement tasks themselves.  On the other hand, Gen‑X is still building and growing, while Gen‑Y is just starting to enter the market.  Only 49% of the Gen‑X respondents own a hand saw, and even fewer of the Gen‑Y group own one (29%).

Additionally, with more projects ahead of them, and less disposable income, these younger generations are more focused on saving money.  When surveyed, 64% of Gen‑X, and 71% of Gen‑Y respondents told NPD that saving money is more important than buying name brand products, compared to just over half of Boomers.

"Baby Boomers and Gen‑X each currently represent just over 30% of the population, and Gen‑Y accounts for 15%, but there is an ‘opportunity gap' that plays a role here as well," said Mark Delaney, director of NPD's home improvement and major appliance divisions. "Given that, developing a variety of marketing messages and strategies becomes more important so that retailers and manufacturers can narrow that gap and find the opportunities."

For all three generations, location/​convenience, reputation, and lowest price are clearly the most important reasons for purchase at a particular retailer. For Boomers, location/​convenience slightly out-​weigh price. For Gen‑X and Gen‑Y once again the study finds that price is the most important influence on their selection.

"Reaching this next generation of home improvement consumers becomes the new challenge," said Delaney.  "The way we communicate with and to younger consumers needs to be reconsidered. These are the consumers that have become more reliant on websites, social media, and friends recommendations to research products.  It then becomes more apparent that retailers and manufacturers need to be prepared to address these changes, to not only find new ways to deliver their messages but to find new opportunities that will turn them into customers."

*Boomers = 45–64, Gen X = 28–44, Gen Y = 18–27

[Source:  "Beyond the Boomers."  The NPD Group. 4 May 2010.  Web.  10 May 2010.]