Consumers Feathering Their Connected Home Nests

Among the more unexpected effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last half-year or so is the sudden home improvement boom it set off among consumers.  Unexpected, but not entirely surprising, as consumers suddenly spending nearly all of their time in their homes these days have realized that home ought to be as nice and as comfortable as humanly imaginable. And since they’re not eating out, travelling far from home or going to events very much these days, many even have the budget to make some upgrades.

New furniture, new appliances, new floors, swimming pools, gardening supplies, tools boxes, paint and patio furniture are just a short list of things that have seen their sales surge as the homebound have begun feathering their nests and making their homes more comfortable, useful and aesthetically pleasing.

And, as new data released by Security research company indicates, that upgrade wave among consumers is increasingly extending to making their homes smarter as well.  The overwhelming majority of consumers report already owning at least one smart home device (91 percent), with a very solid majority planning to purchase more in the not-too-distant future.  The survey found 64 percent of respondents said they were planning to buy a new type of smart home technology within the next year.

Now, there are caveats with the data — the first of which is the survey cast a very wide net for what “counted” as a smart home device to get to that 91 percent, including expected stuff like smart speakers, smart lights, thermostats, etc, but also things like smart TVs, which tend to inflate the figures. But the survey does show that smart appliances are gaining ground among consumers, which at least strongly indicates that smartening up their homes is

Continue Reading

Red hot home prices have more consumers saying now is a bad time to buy

People wait to visit a house for sale in Floral Park, Nassau County, New York.

Wang Ying | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Anyone out hunting for a house knows that bidding wars are no longer the exception, but the rule.

Demand for housing has been unusually strong, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and supply is historically lean. That is a recipe for high prices, which are now beginning to take their toll on potential homebuyers’ confidence.

The share of buyers who say they think it’s a good time to buy fell in September, from 59% to 54%, according to a new survey from Fannie Mae.

Home values were up nearly 6% annually, according to CoreLogic, a data analytics firm. More consumers now expect those price gains to grow.

The percentage of respondents to the Fannie Mae survey who says prices will go up in the next year increased from 33% to 41%, while the share who said prices would go down decreased from 26% to just 17%.

More people do think now is a good time to sell a home, which is an improvement from the first months of the pandemic, when potential sellers didn’t want shoppers in their homes and worried about the state of the overall economy.

If seller sentiment improves substantially, that could help bolster supply and take away at least some of the heat in prices.  

“Going forward, we believe the wild card to be whether enough sellers enter the market to continue to meet the strong homebuying demand,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “The home purchase market requires the proper mix of home price growth and continued economic recovery to achieve sustainable levels of housing activity.”

Falling mortgage rates have been driving buyers into the market, especially as rates set record

Continue Reading

Consumers driving vessels to break status quo

Uniworld has more design ideas on the way, driven by consumers seeking an even more original boutique river cruise experience.

So said Ellen Bettridge, president and ceo, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection during ‘Design Disruptors’, presented by Seatrade Cruise Brand Ambassador Ayesha Khan and sponsored by Bath Fitter at Seatrade Cruise Virtual.

‘Nothing is the same’, said Bettridge on the interior design of Uniworld’s river vessels, as she shared photographs of the artwork on display in Catherine and Antoinette and their hand crafted features. 

She went on to add that the vessels are original for having been ‘designed with a woman in mind’, demonstrated by storage spaces in bathrooms. 

‘[We’ve] certainly a few other ideas coming… [for] a luxury experience for the customer. It is the consumer driving this’, she added. 

Creating personality

Ponant’s ceo Americas, Navin Sawhney, said the cruise line’s Explorer Class ships ‘all have their own personality’ and capture lots of light so passengers ‘can enjoy the panorama in its fullest form.’ 

He described the vessels’ Blue Eye Lounge as ‘a feat of engineering’ that comprises 24 layers of glass glued together so passengers can see ‘in the ocean and the ocean floor.’ 

Sawhney concluded, ‘The idea here is to open the eye of the traveller’s mind… how this ocean exists and how we can continue to make it exist.’ 

Source Article

Continue Reading

The Growing Importance Of The Home For Young Consumers

A new report by youth marketing experts YPulse titled “No Place Like Home” provides significant new insights on how the Covid pandemic has changed how Gen Z and Millennials view the homes. The following statement summarizes key findings: “As young people look to their spaces as mental health retreats, at-home items and services that comfort, declutter, or foster a feeling of escape that from the outside world will resonate.”  The opportunities for marketers are clear and will be elaborated on below.

YPulse previously observed that millennials have homebody tendencies, with a majority preferring to go to a  café or watch Netfix at home as opposed to going to a party on a Saturday night. A recent survey confirms that this sentiment was present even prior to the pandemic, with, “…67% of 19-37 year olds telling YPulse in January this year that they would rather stay in on the weekends than go out.”

Both millennials and GenZ (widely regarded as the most stressed out generation in history) are seeing the home as a refuge from the outside world, as many have felt stressed by issues such as climate change, the 2008 recession, student debt, and now Covid-19. 

YPulse and it’s Vice President for Content, MaryLeigh Bliss predict three major trends pertaining to young people and attitudes toward home going forward that are worth looking at and considering into how they affect marketers. They are:

1)     Shifts in How Young People Use Their Homes Will Create Opportunity For Marketers

With a strong majority of Millennials and GenZ having the goal of owning a home, how they use that home will be of interest to markets in many product categories. YPulse points out several Covid-related shifts

Continue Reading

Consumers take the hit for new builds, home improvements

Rising, unpredictable costs of building commodities like engineered wood, combined with delayed or limited availability of products such as shingles and vinyl siding, are creating serious headaches for those in the construction industry.

“Most of what we consider commodities we can’t even get our hands on,” said Marshall Helmers, manager of Worthington’s Lampert Lumber.

“It’s taking two to three times as long to get certain items — OSB, treated lumber, treated deck boards, wide lumber — and some things have tripled in price.”

While the estimates Helmers provides contractors are normally valid for two to four weeks, that isn’t currently the case.

“We don’t hold estimates for even a week right now — we just can’t,” said Helmers.

“It’s required constant communication with our salesmen about what’s coming up with jobs, and we’ve been able to keep the jobs rolling but it takes way more communication about what’s usually a simple process because we spend so much time finding it, getting it and re-pricing it.”

Yes, COVID-19 is a key culprit in this dilemma; the hard shutdown earlier in 2020 served to create increased demand while limiting available supply.

“All these people stuck at home, not at their usual workplaces, looking around their houses, not spending as much money going to Twins games or other vacation venues, and they decided to do home improvement projects,” observed Kyle Johnson, owner/president of Johnson Builders & Realty.

“One of the most common home projects has been new decks, which require treated lumber,” he added.

“There are definitely headaches, but the good news is that we’re busy.”

Jeremy Whipple, owner of Worthington Building Materials, Pipestone Building Materials and Minneota Building Materials, is dealing with the tight supply chain on his end.

“Anything that’s run through factories is what’s hard to get, because factories being

Continue Reading