April 24, 2012

A Quick Glimpse at Generational Trends



The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) opens today and here’s a quick overview of trends being shared at the show by Maxine Lauer of Sphere Trending in Waterford, Michigan. According to Lauer, there are very real trends forming across generations and this cross-generational influence is shaping the consumers we design for, sell to and interact with every day. The trending profiles are interesting to consumers themselves as we all navigate the world together with different values, attitudes and influences. The information will surely hold important implications for dealers and designers in the kitchen industry.

Age: Infant – 14
This group is ethnically diverse, the most tech savvy of all ages, raised on computers from toddler age and expect products to be interactive and able to “transform” and adapt to each

individual. They are watching Food Network shows in record numbers and making food an essential piece of their worlds (sounds like the Foodie craze won’t be fading any too soon!)

Gen Now
Age: 15-34
They have a 24/7 mentality for change. They are rewriting the rules as the new adult majority (84 million of them!) Cooking for them is “an ecosystem of options — from fresh preparation to meals-to-go to everything in between.” For them, eating can be done anywhere and anytime. They “do more with less” and design is changing to suit their requirements. They have high expectations, but limited discretionary income. They will make sacrifices to be able to get what they want…you just want to make sure your product or service is what they want.

Generation X
Age: 35-44
These are the entertainers. They love to wine and dine friends and family in their homes. In fact, their love of wine has put the U.S. In front of France for the first time as the largest consumer of wine. They are masters of work/life balance. They grew up with hundreds of cooking shows and magazines and love unique flavors and fabulous food. More than one-third of primary grocery shoppers visit an ethnic grocery store at least occasionally and 31% patronize organic/natural food stores.

Zoomers (previously known as Baby Boomers)
Age: 45-65
This generation is more affluent and healthier than prior generations. They are willing to buy wellness and they have a youthful mentality. They are the “Do It For Me” generation and will spend money on services that help make life easier. Often they are making decisions not only for themselves, but also for elderly parents and co-dependent adult children. The kitchen is the new wellness center for the Zoomers and the bath is a spa.

Prime Timers
Age: 66 and up
These elders are redefining the aging process. It is expected that one in eight Prime Timers will reach the age of 100. They are all about aging in place, designing for ease of lifestyle and future safety, especially in the kitchen and bath. They are active, inspired and want to make a difference.

You can read about these groups in more detail in KB+B and make sure you stop by Maxine Lauer’s 30-minute KBIS presentation on April 24 at 1PM. Titled, “Life Stage Demographics: A fun and interesting look at your next customer,” the presentation is free and requires no special registration once you are in the show.