The Home Base Is Taking Command of 2020!

Back in the late 1960s, I can remember sitting in front of the television set watching CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.

Mr. Cronkite would report what was happening in America.

“As murder and crime goes up in the cities, the young families are flocking out to the suburbs”

“Homes are expanding with space called family rooms where the parents and kids get together to watch TV and play games”

“Wallpaper with geometric shapes once found in kitchens and bathrooms is expanding to the living rooms and even front entries to the house”

“Swing sets, trampolines and tree houses are filling up the suburban backyards”

“Riding lawn mowers are the new rage this Father’s Day”

“Moms are seeking their own space in the homes to sew and do crafts”

“Kitchen tables are becoming the central gathering point in the home where families not only gather for dinner, but coffee, homework and even just conversation”

Over the course of the last 60 days, all of these news headlines are now re-running on news networks, websites and digital apps.

Now looking back, the blog I posted going into 2020 was not quite on target.

That blog was titled, “The Alpha Generation Will Drive The 2020 Marketplace.”

I posted that blog during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

There was some muttering back then about a “form of a virus” that was starting to spread in Wuhan China, but there was limited, if any speculation, that the virus would be entering the U.S.

Now six months later, COVID-19 has entered the U.S. and re-crafted, re-defined and re-channeled market trends and changes.

If I could edit what I published back in December, I would rescript the blog title to read, “The Family Home Base Will Drive The 2020 Marketplace.”

What is happening right before our eyes is something that many business leaders fail to perceive which translates to market opportunity for those that do!

Just as I posted in numerous recent blogs, the Millennials are driving the marketplace.

The Millennials not only command the delivery rooms; they also are driving the home cocoon too.

As many know, here at EXPERIENCE we view the marketplace through a set of neighborhood lifestyle group glasses. The system we use is branded as Claritas/PRIZM, a company aligned with Nielsen.

One of the neighborhood target groups that we have constructed with Claritas/PRIZM is nicknamed “Millennial Homemakers.”

The group, “Millennial Homemakers” accounts for the highest percentage share of the U.S. marketplace — with the greatest share appearing in the suburbia that wraps around each of America’s top 50 metros.

Brush off the dust of the Boomer family-forming years of the late 1960s and early 1970s and shine new light on the Millennial family-forming years being launched in 2020.

COVID-19, In-town real estate costs, limited real estate inventory, urban crime, current protest marches and resulting conflicts has only accelerated the pace.

This past 4th of July weekend, I had the opportunity to actually spend some time touring and observing a host of “Millennial Homemakers” as they clustered in their neighborhoods.

I also had the opportunity to chat with a number of them in local grocery stores, Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, Ace Hardware stores, McDonald’s and even at gasoline pumping stations.

Over the past three months of lock-downs, the “Millennial Homemakers” are discovering that one grand Keeping Room does not work. Those “family rooms” they remember as kids served a purpose.

And the Man-Caves that the Gen X guys crafted are nice, but right now, backyards represent a whole new canvas that the in-town condos and apartments did not have… backyards that take on new meaning as “escape zones” after being cooped up in the house with the COVID-19 lock-downs.

The white walls that many of the new suburban home developers used to make the homes feel spatial and reel in Millennials restricted in their 800 square feet urban apartments is now perceived as a very, very blank canvas.

Painting the white kitchen cabinets, putting up wallpaper, painting the bedrooms blue and pink pastels for the kids, adding drapes in addition to the window blinds and purchasing brilliant color area rugs to add personality to the neutral carpet and blank laminate “hardwood” floors… its all hip and trending.

Check out the house and home pictures being shared on Facebook and Twitter!

Doing all of this reinforces the Millennials desire to add a personal signature to their daily “Millennial Homemaker” experiences.

Headsets and perspectives have shifted too.

Simplified schedules and declines in commuter traffic, have increased interaction and dialogue within families. Even as expanded kitchen counter space with bar stools has replaced the conventional kitchen tables, the kitchens are coming back as the central gathering spot of family interaction.

Last week, I had the opportunity to observe a couple of digital “chat groups” among a set of Baby Boomers and Empty Nesters. Over the course of this week and next week, I am doing a half-dozen more.

What I found most interesting is that the participants have adapted to COVID-19 factors and in many ways, moved-on.

If anything, the Family Home-base is indeed re-crafting and re-engineering the architecture of the marketplace.

And yes… it’s not just the Father doing mowing the yards and it’s not just the Mom doing the sewing in the new hobby rooms.

In fact, this is happening among the families with a Mom and a Dad as well as families with two Moms or two Dads or just one parent.

What are a few interesting outcomes?

First… study halls and home-workrooms are going to either replace the home offices or have to get integrated in the office space itself.

Digital classrooms will not replace in-room education, but digital will be more integrated into the forum of study and home-work assignments.

Second… restaurants will have to refocus their headsets that the “pick-up and take-home” meals are not COVID-19 driven, but instead something that COVID-19 only accelerated.

Showcasing family members wearing masks in their television ads promoting the “pick-up and take-home” meals is not a smart thing to do. And if it was the ad agency that recommended it… even reinforced it… the agency needs to be fired.

Third… the high touch environment of the home-front will overtake the high touch world of social media.

Already, the audience groups most interactive in social media are kids and teens and retirees. The content of exchange is getting more and more regulated on a variety of fronts.

Already families are enforcing “docking downtimes” when the smart phones are recharged and banned from interaction and use. And this is enforced among the parents too.

SO… Families today come in many forms. Here at EXPERIENCE, we have cool tools to not just segment families out, but visually map them, and define just what channels of access — conventional or digital or social — reach and niche target them

I didn’t even mention the role of pets and how they play a role in the mix…

Maybe the next Blog post will be centered just around pets.

Onward!

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.