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AGE OF STYLE: THE MILLENNIAL FURNITURE BUYER
News and online articles often paint a grim picture of Millennials. They’re lazy, they’re entitled, they’re obsessed with their iPhones, they say. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Well, everything but that last bit about their iPhones, maybe.
At 80 million strong, Millennials are the largest generation in American history. They make up about a third of the U.S. adult population, and they hold substantial purchasing power, spending an estimated $600 billion each year. And with many entering their peak home-buying years — 25 to 45 as defined by Goldman Sachs — Millennials are influencing furniture trends as well.
In fact, in advance of the recent High Point Furniture Market, many reports indicated that Millennials make up 37 percent of all households buying furniture, spending $27 billion on home furnishings in 2014 alone.
Whether you fall into this group and are getting ready to outfit your first home, or you’re looking to better connect with this powerful buying generation, the following is an overview of how Millennials are approaching – and impacting — furniture buying.
THINK SOCIAL…AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Millennials are big on creating experiences and documenting those experiences for their faithful and engaged online followers. In fact, Millennials value product reviews above all other factors when it comes to making purchase decisions (see our own great review on the Sequel Lift Desk by lifestyle and tech blog Man of Many).
When it comes to entertainment, millennials might love taking an Uber to the latest craft distillery, but they also like to entertain at home, where they can try out those specialty cocktails and unusual appetizers they saw on Pinterest.
These pieces are more than Instagram-ready
Almost every trend piece written about Millennials brings up the fact that they are tech savvy. But, really, it goes much further than that.
Millennials are tech dependent. They crave connection and interaction, and pieces that incorporate tech considerations are only going to become more popular. Desks with cable management systems make it easy to plug in laptops, tablets and smartphones when they need a charge without having a lot of clutter, and media furniture that incorporates IR-friendly glass and space for the latest tech components like soundbars will be among their favorites.
DOWN TO EARTH
Millennials are big on environmental issues. As children, they took in such eco-conscious animated features like, “Captain Planet” and “FernGully: The Last Rainforest.” As they’ve gotten older, they’ve embraced things like urban and sustainable farming, hybrid cars and the localvore movement. That isn’t to say they’re “crunchy,” but they’re definitely interested in green living.
Businesses that make sustainability part of the company policy tend to get stamps of approval from Millennials. And from an aesthetic perspective, design elements such as visible wood grain and organic forms are shareworthy for this generation.
MAKE IT STREAMLINED
Self-expression is also important to Millennials. Many of them have been cultivating their personal brands for years, and when decorating their homes they’re looking for pieces that complement their unique tastes rather than dictate the vibe.
Modern design, which emphasizes sleek lines and minimal ornamentation, feels at once contemporary and rooted in tradition. This makes it easy to mix it in with other styles — thus making it an obvious choice and a great investment.
TOUCH AND FEEL
Though this generation might consider themselves tech-dependent, they also value the in-store shopping experience. In fact, seven out of 10 Millennials shop and browse brick-and-mortar stores before making a purchasing decision. However, for Millennials who can easily change their opinions in one visit, this puts the onus on retailers to make the in-store experience worth their while.
KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN
Millennials don’t like to feel tied down. Honestly, what can you expect from the generation that invented Tinder? Designs that offer customization, such as the Semblance Modular System or versatility such as the BDI's line of Lift Standing Desks, make it easy to get just the right look and set up … for now!
Are you a Millennial? What will you buy next for your home? Share with us in the comments below.