IHA caught up with Marsha Everton and Whitney Ryan from the AIMsights Group to learn about their latest research that they will present at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show. At the Show, the Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics discussed will include smart home, consumer shopping preferences, branding and global market trends.
The AIMsights Group focuses on analysis, insights and targeted marketing strategies to help companies “get smart” about Millennials and Boomers – and increasingly important intergenerational dynamics. AIMsights partners with clients to transform their business through customer intelligence. Their products and services include custom research and analysis for single or multiple clients, consumer-centric strategic planning, AIMsights reports and Thought Partner advisory services. Their team combines the art of identifying consumer drivers, attitudes and emotions with the science of rigorous quantification of behaviors and segmentation to provide unique insights into business opportunities.
Marsha Everton is a leading housewares industry expert. Prior to establishing her consulting and corporate governance practice, Marsha worked for more than 20 years for The Pfaltzgraff Co., rising to the position of President & CEO. Widely recognized as a housewares industry leader, she has served as president of the National Tabletop and Giftware Association as well as on the boards of the International Housewares Association, National Retail Federation, The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. and Integrus Holdings.
Whitney Ryan, AIMsights Millennial Associate, is the voice of a younger generation of consumers, with fresh perspectives on intergenerational dynamics. This is Whitney’s seventh year of co-presenting in the Innovation Theater. Whitney is the “digital native” on the AIMsights team, providing in-depth expertise on social media and all things digital.
Marsha, what is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work? What fuels your inspiration?
We are fueled by the rapidly changing technology environment. Most historians believe that we are in the most important period of technological transformation since the invention of the Gutenberg Press, with fundamental changes in how we communicate, learn and conduct business. These changes require new frameworks and perspectives on virtually every element of life. Every day brings new information, new ideas and new opportunities.
We are forever “connecting the dots” as we explore each company’s business model and the customer journey. Customer insight leads to identification of the highest value business opportunities for business transformation and profitable growth – truly rewarding work!
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business? How has your company met these challenges in the way you do your work?
The internet and especially mobile access to that information have changed every aspect of our business and the housewares industry. It’s no longer a B2C (business to consumer) world. It’s all about C2C (consumer to consumer). Consumers research and shop across multiple channels and then choose when and where to make their purchase. They trust reviews from total strangers more than a company’s description of the product or service. Trends are rapidly globalized.
The connectivity also changes the relationship between generations and demographic segments. The old rules of segmentation no longer apply. Younger consumers teach and influence older consumers as well as the more traditional “old teaches young” model.
The Longevity Revolution also changes how to target consumers, redefining life stages and consumer wants and needs. Traditional adult milestones are reached later than in prior generations and traditional retirement age is now a time for reinvention and redefinition of life goals.
At AIMsights, we analyze and provide insights into this post-demographic, consumer-powered world and help our clients reach consumers when, where and how the consumer wants.
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?
The Housewares Show is the place where every dimension of the industry gathers and connects. We listen, share, explore and learn. We are inspired by the innovation in every aisle.
The New American Dream: Millennials Buying Homes!
March 12, Monday 10:30 – 11:20 a.m.
Innovation Theater, Lakeside Center, Room E350
Marsha, your programs are an annual audience favorite. Give us an update about your latest findings and how you’ll frame the information for Show audiences.
This year we are speaking about the impact on the housewares industry as Millennials start buying homes. As with every life stage that they embrace, the Millennials are a tidal wave. They are bringing new ideas and changing the process.
The market has been waiting impatiently, expecting Millennials to get married, buy a home and start a family at the same age as prior generations. With the Longevity Revolution, the traditional milestones of adulthood are now reached at age 30, not age 20. The life stage of 20-30 years is now considered “emerging adulthood” as the Millennials gear up for the first chapter of their full-fledged adult lives.
The typical home buyer is:
- Mid-to-late 30s or early 40s.
- Married (67%).
- College educated (75%).
- Median household income of $87,500.
Millennials are finally starting to come into this profile! The leading edge of the Millennials is turning 37 with the peak currently at age 26. So the tidal wave is starting to impact the housing market – with the largest part of the wave still on the way.
According to a recent study by Zillow, 42 percent of home buyers and 71 percent of first-time home buyers are now Millennials. The wild ride is starting!
Baby Boomers, at the other end of the Longevity Revolution, are also changing their horizons and staying in their homes rather than downsizing or moving to retirement communities. The housing market and Housewares industry are impacted by both of these dynamics!!
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
This year we’ve observed a shift in the consumer focus on health and wellness with a repositioning of this trend. A new luxury and minimalist (and inconspicuous) consumption is becoming the revitalized symbol of status and wealth.
Products must contribute to consumers’ personal health and wellness in a meaningful way, truly adding value to their lives. Great health at every life stage is a much-desired and nurtured luxury.
The parallel trend toward minimalism is also a luxury statement. Knowledgeable consumers scour the internet and their peer networks to identify products that earn a space in their increasingly decluttered homes. Having a few “just right” items is more status-worthy than having lots of “stuff.”
“Less is more” with products that preserve and improve health for the individual consumer as well as for the planet through safe, responsibly sourced materials and respectful labor practices. Consumers are demanding more and more information about exactly how something was made or grown.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
One of the most important trends that we continue to follow is consumers’ search for experiences. The search is for product that tells a story and/or helps consumers tell their own story. Consumers are looking for total transparency, deep-rooted authenticity, social purpose, contribution to a healthy life and healthy work/life balance – and a feeling of joy in using the product.
The classic design mantra of “form follows function” is more important than ever. Consumers are responding to quintessential product, with consumer-centric design that delivers performance and feels “right.”
Thank you, Marsha, for your always-insightful comments about current demographic trends. We look forward to your presentation on Monday, March 12 at 9:30 am in the Innovation Theater. To learn more about AIMsights, visit their website or contact Marsha Everton.
Learn from experts about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Critical issues such as global design trends, branding, the needs of distinct consumer age and gender groups, and questions about smart/connected devices in our home environments – all impact the home goods market. Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at www.housewares.org after the Show.