Trends & Forecasting

The home is (still) where it’s at

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Ah, the home. A place to relax. A place to connect. A place to entertain. A place to do the things you want to do. Regardless of what image comes to mind when we think about our own homes, the home still is a critical part of the backbone that drives consumer behaviors. And with cooler months coming for most of the country, coupled with the normal hype around the fall TV season, now is as good a time as ever to think about the home.

But it’s not just what people do inside their homes – it is their view of the home overall that is often more critical.  An increasing number of consumers globally agree, “My home is a reflection of who I am and what I value” (67% in 2017, +5 pts from 2012) – according to recent research from GfK Consumer Life.

Undoubtedly new shopping tools from home improvement retailers (e.g. IKEA, Lowe’s) will further feed into this rising attitude.

Additionally, with new developments in the home category – new technologies (smart homes, Internet of Things, VR/AR, etc.); changing media habits (binge-watching, cord-cutting, etc.); and evolving social dynamics (multi-generational households, more sharing of household tasks, etc.) – now is a better time than ever to understand the current nuances within consumers’ homes.

The good news is that a few areas continue to act as proverbial ‘pillars’ within the home; marketers can easily deliver on these pillars.

Comfy & cozy

Eight in ten (80%) Americans agree, “My home is a private retreat where I can relax and get away from it all” – the top-ranked life attitude statement over the past few years (from a consistent set of 34 statements tracked).  People need their homes to be a place to unwind – especially with the level of tension and anxiety affecting them today.  Products and solutions that help alleviate stress will continue to resonate.  (On that note, did you know that Google Home is equipped to play ambient noise if you ask it to help you relax?)

Come together

Two other home-related sentiments are on the rise today.  More Americans are describing equating their homes as “a family haven” (68%, +5 pts from 2012), and a “social hub” (36%, +5 pts) – both terms undoubtedly involve connecting and socializing with others. Though much of the recent dialogue has been around people dis-connecting and not having real interactions with each other, the mindset within the home is somewhat contrary. The holiday season is of course coming up – and the perfect time to play on this nuance.

Entertain me

Our research shows that two in three Americans view their homes as “an entertainment center – a place to have fun and enjoy”. People are now prioritizing that entertaining experience in the home – and we are starting to see industries that are being quite affected (e.g. ticket sales down for movie theaters). Media consumption habits are of course playing a key role (Netflix plans on spending $8 billion on original programming next year) – but technology continues to drive bringing these experiences at home.  Have you seen the $14 LED light strip that converts a TV into a theater-like visual effect?

Conclusion

The home dynamic will keep evolving, as new products & services will transform consumer behavior and attitudes within the home.  But marketers can still leverage the staples going into the future – comfort, relationships, and entertainment.

Mihir Bhatt is a Senior Consultant on the Consumer Life team at GfK. He can be reached at Mihir.bhatt@gfk.com.

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