Baby boomers are continuing to downgrade into smaller homes and millennials are the target audiences on the radar for most furniture brands.
Millennials – the population born in the US between 1980 and 2000, are the largest population segment of over 79 million people, and they have purchasing power of over $170 billion per year. This means huge opportunities for furniture companies as this population is coming to an age where they are starting families and purchasing homes.
However, unlike traditional techniques of marketing to the generations before them, millennials have unique characteristics and furniture retailers must learn to adapt their strategies to reach this generation. One of the most unique aspects of millennials is their use of technology and social media.
24% of millennials cite the biggest trait that makes them unusual is their use of technology. Just how connected are the millennials? Take a look at the numbers:
- 90% conduct research online
- 67% receive their news online
- 64% send instant messages
- 60% send & receive text messages
- 56% download music
- 52% read blogs
- 43% play online games
- They also read 2,300 web pages, 1,881 Facebook profiles, and write 500 pages of email.
In addition, check out these ten hallmarks of millennials’ furniture and home décor and spending (Coresight Research):
- Household formation and home ownership is declining
- Living spaces are getting smaller
- Increased mobility
- Furniture sales accelerate in the back-to-college period
- Seek a strong price and value proposition
- An appreciation of vintage furniture
- Acknowledge importance of sustainability
- Attracted by connected furniture of the future
- Still visit brick-and-mortar stores
- Use of social media for decorating inspiration
Generational Furniture Buying Differs by Product Category
Buying patterns by generation vary greatly and what may appeal to Baby Boomers will not necessarily appeal to the millennial generation. For example, Furniture Today put out great research examining the price paid for specific product categories by generation.
- Millennials, on average, paid significantly more, $1,125, than Generation X and Baby Boomers for furniture for the master bedroom.
- Millennials also spent significantly less money on desks: $147 on average compared to $223 for Generation X and $234 for Baby Boomers.
- Millennials represent 37% of the consumer furniture and bedding market.
- Baby Boomers continue to represent the largest percentage of dollars spent in the furniture market, however millennials make up the largest percentage of buyers in the market.
Here are 5 ways furniture retailers can connect to this group of digitally connected consumers:
ONE: BOOST YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Many millennials tend to flock to online sources for pre-purchase research. They check sellers’ ratings, comparison shop between sites, and research suggests they are 5 times more likely to be influenced by mobile banners and online pop-ups. While online research is key for this group, this doesn’t mean they are necessarily going to purchase online. They want to see and touch a couch or mattress before they purchase it just like most of us.
However, when deciding where to go – a strong online presence is critical as these consumers are making their pre-purchase decisions.
Porch Group Media offers a range of customized online furniture audiences to target millennial online audiences.
TWO: BE SOCIAL
Millennials have grown up with social media and tend to share everything with their social networks. According to a study by eMarketer, 84% use social media. Social advertisements offer an ideal way to engage these social media users.
Social media should also be incorporated into all aspects of the shopper’s journey – from branded communities, links to photo albums on Facebook, and sharing of special events on Twitter. Pinterest and Instagram are also top media social channels used by Millennials, making it an obvious choice – after all, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
THREE: BECOME MOBILE
Millennials spend 14 percent more time on their mobile devices compared to other generations. Mobile marketing is offering a huge opportunity for furniture companies. Be sure to create a mobile site or optimize your site for mobile. Millennials shop and price-check on the go with their smartphones or tablets, and research shows that 27% of consumers will leave the site if it is not mobile-optimized.
Additionally, more than 75% of millennials have their mobile devices in hand when shopping in store.
Using Porch Group Media’s proprietary mobile solution, furniture brands can target in-market millennial shoppers who have visited a furniture store or who have browsed online.
FOUR: BUILD LOYALTY
Many retail brands cite a lack of loyalty as the top concern when marketing to Millennials. However, Millennials can be loyal customers – they just want something in return. Customer service, personalized promotions, and discounts are the most popular. 8 out of 10 say they are highly influenced by coupons sent to their homes in addition to mobile banners. More brands are also rewarding social behaviors – such as tweeting, posting, checking in, and sharing.
According to a study by Colloquy, 84 percent of consumers would spend more with retailers who offer loyalty rewards for activities other than purchasing, such as sharing on social media. Be sure that any type of loyalty program is compatible with mobile – otherwise, you will be missing your mark with this group.
Loyalty and social media also go hand in hand for millennials. Sixty-two (62%) percent of this group states that they are more likely to become brand loyal if a company engages with them, sincerely, on social media.
FIVE: Bring Your Data Together with a Customer Data Platform
For targeted outreach to be successful, make sure you have a deep understanding of your millennial consumers. As is often the case, data is stored in multiple systems. This customer data can easily be integrated with additional demographic, behavioral and lifestyle data using a Customer Data Platform (CDP).
What types of interests and lifestyles most appeal to your millennial customers? What are their purchasing habits? What is their income?
Additionally, a CDP allows you to organize your customers and prospects into groups and categories, blending the information you know about them to find hidden, untapped segments and then engage with them instantly by building a Customer Journey. In short, by analyzing the data you have at hand, you can discover a wealth of new opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling this target audience.
By implementing more online, mobile and social strategies into your marketing mix, furniture brands can create messages that will capture the attention of Millennials and position their company as a leader among millennials as this group continues to come of age.