- Warren Shoulberg, Publisher/Editorial Director, Home & Textiles Today, Editorial Director, HFN and Gifts & Decorative Accessories…
- Maureen Azzato, Publisher/Editorial Director, HFN…
Taking a cue from a popular TV show, Warren Shoulberg and Maureen Azzato created a fun and interactive presentation to highlight some differences and similarities in the preferences of Baby Boomer and Millennial consumers. They were joined onstage by eight people, four Boomers and four Millennials, who took questions from the audience.
The HFN editors hired a research firm to find individuals in both age groups who represented varied income, age, race, ethnicity and household composition. Their only requirements were that panelists selected for each age group would be home owners and include one male. The sample was drawn from middle income residents in the Chicagoland area. The focus group aimed to reveal directional information and was not designed to be quantitative research.
Shoulberg and Azzato composed a survey that aimed to reveal what the housewares industry understands about the motivations and behavior of these two key groups of purchasers. The survey was sent to select groups of IHA members. More than 100 respondents self-identified as two-thirds Boomers, one-third Millennials and a few Gen Xers.
Maureen outlined the types of questions asked. She stated each question and asked the panelists to discuss and answer with one choice. Their replies were then compared to the votes of housewares executives that appeared on screen. Maureen invited audience members to ask questions and engage with the panelists. Some questions generated animated exchanges between panelists (usually the Millennials) and attendees who wanted clarification and further information.
As Maureen went through the 25 questions, some key findings were revealed. In many instances, both Boomers and Millennials reported the same choices.
Boomers AND Millennials
- are frugal with their limited disposable incomes.
- value family and friends as top priorities.
- prefer to buy products in a store rather than online. They all said they need to touch and feel the products. Pictures on a screen do not give a sense of scale, nor quality.
- prefer to shop in discount and off-price stores for housewares products.
- consider the microwave as the most useful housewares item in the kitchen (after a coffeemaker).
- actively use varied social media platforms at similar rates.
- value online reviews, and often read more than 10 when researching a purchase. Some stated they search first with Google to see many product choices and broad range of retailers. They seek authentic reviews and suspect paid reviewers.
- seek recipes online rather than in cookbooks and like watching videos/cooking demonstrations.
- believe that quality, design and color, not brand, are the most important features to consider when selecting a housewares product. Brand becomes more important with higher-priced purchases.
Surprises from younger consumers:
- cook at home 5x/week
- believe ads on Facebook are irritating. They use Facebook for family and friends and don’t like commercial interruptions.
- did not know what a QR code is.
- value opinions of friends and family over social media influencers or celebrity chef endorsements.
HFN will report further on this study in upcoming issues. Contact Maureen Azzato with questions.