The nation’s largest demographic group, 90 million and counting, is poised to begin dominating the home buying market beginning in 2018.
This is good news for new home builders, realtors, and renovators. While recovery since the great recession has been steady, the building industry certainly has had to reconcile with the “new normal."
This infusion of new buyers is the perfect excuse to revisit your marketing personas. Don’t limit yourself to the time-tested cradle to grave marketing tactics. Each generation has unique characteristics and buyers journeys - and the millennials are no exception. When crafting a millennial persona for your construction company keep the following trends in mind:
Truly a melting pot, the U.S. population continues to become more diverse. According to the Pew Association Americans are more racially and ethnically diverse than in the past, and the U.S. is projected to be even more diverse in the coming decades. In fact, by 2055 Pew projects that there will no longer be a single racial or ethnic majority. Millennials embrace this trend: 53% of millennials aren’t white, don’t solidly identify as either “traditionals” or “trailblazers” and, because they now range in age from 17 to 37, have incomes across the economic spectrum.
Location Is Important to Millennials
Previous generations embraced longer commutes and sacrificed quality of life for larger homes and yards. As Millennials move into the home market they're seeking places with lower than average home prices and ample job opportunities that pay a relatively good wage. These markets aren't your typical urban areas pushing growth south and west. For those not convinced to relocate, first-time homebuyers are seeking locations that balance urban amenities with living space.
Millennials Value Quality Over Quantity
It’s no secret that this generation prefers experiences over things. We don’t know what that means for grandma’s fine china, but we do know that Millennials are willing to compromise on certain features for better quality materials. This bucks the size over finishes approach championed by production builders for years. This buying profile expects high quality fit and finishes standard such as granite countertops, stainless appliances and technology enabled devices.
The preference for better quality has led to compromises in home size. According to U.S. Census data the typical new home had 2,689 square feet in 2015. In 2016, homes dropped to 2,634 square feet. This is a shrink in home size since 2009. Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president for survey research believes that “2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009 when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities. I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.”
Instead, take the time to construct personas that represent your ideal buyers - including Millennials. Remember personas are fictional representations of your ideal buyers and include demographic data, pain points, challenges, goals and a detail of their purchasing behavior as it relates to your product or service offering (also called a buyers journey).
Don’t take a short cut and make the mistake of just creating a “Millennial” persona.
No generation is one size fits all.