Millennial Home Buyers to Spur Retail Growth

millennial home buyers

If you’re a retailer looking for this year’s hot market, look no further than Millennial home buyers.

Last year, nearly one-third of home buyers were Millennials, The National Association of Realtors reports. And this year, according to research from real estate website Zillow, Millennials are projected to surpass Generation X as the single largest group of home buyers.

Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist, said when announcing the research:

“Younger Americans have been delaying getting married and having children, two key drivers in the decision to buy that first home. As this generation matures, they will become a home-buying force to be reckoned with.”

How do you know if your region is going to be a Millennial home-buying hotbed?

Zillow says markets with strong income growth among those age 23 to 34, significant growth in the number of entry-level homes on the market, and affordable home prices for first-time buyers will see the most growth. Based on those criteria, the company says the best housing markets for first-time buyers this year are Pittsburgh, Hartford, Connecticut, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Atlanta.

Of course, you don’t have to be in one of these cities to benefit from Millennial home buyers.

Any retailer who sells home furnishings, furniture, carpet, flooring, home décor, paint or wallpaper; kitchenware and appliances, or soft goods such as bedding can boost sales by targeting Millennials who are either moving into their first homes, moving up to new homes as they have children, or simply itching to redecorate their rental space as all their friends buy homes.

Furniture Today says, last year, 37 percent of households buying furniture and bedding were Millennials. That makes them the largest generation purchasing these products. How can you successfully market to all these Millennial homebuyers?

Here are some strategies to consider.

Millennials Love to DIY

Doing it themselves is a way to save money and express their personalities for Millennials, who are often dealing with hand-me-down furnishings.

Offering hands-on workshops to show these novice homeowners how to make or modify their home décor, update their homes or maintain their investment is a sure-fire way to appeal to this age group. A tile store could host workshops on how to install a kitchen backsplash or tile a floor. A furniture store could show customers how to paint and distress unfinished furniture.

Don’t forget the power of online video when it comes to DIY, either. How-to videos that show customers how to do something are a great tool to grab Millennials’ attention.

Create your own YouTube channel and host the videos on your website, too. Be sure to mention the products you’re using and how to buy them in your store.

Millennials are Visual

Pinterest and Instagram are hot social media channels for Millennials looking for ideas and inspiration for decorating their new spaces.

Take advantage of marketing and advertising options on both social sites. Don’t just promote your own products, but also share cool decorating and design ideas from around the Internet. These are more likely to get shared and repinned.

Millennials are Social

And that’s not just on social media, but also in real life.

Host social events like special invitation-only sales, live music, product auctions or art shows to draw them into your store. Of course, social media matters too!

Encourage DIY-ers to share their projects on social media using hashtags for your store and on your store’s social media accounts.

Millennials Care About Giving Back

Social responsibility is important to Millennials, so show how your store is committed to giving back.

A furniture store could donate unsold season-end or floor merchandise to Habitat for Humanity, or give customers a small discount if they donate their used furniture to a local homeless shelter when they buy new items.

By trying these tips, you’ll be able to tap into the enormous purchasing power of this new generation of homeowners.

New House Photo via Shutterstock

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.