Pay Attention to Gen Xers and Older Millennials with Children: They offer real sales opportunities for mattress and bedding retailers.
Home Furnishings Business™ (HFB) Magazine has recently published in their online column entitled Factoids a series of pertinent home furnishings statistics. Based on a Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey 2016, this report calls attention to the income and purchasing power of Gen Xers. Home Furnishings Business caught my eye with their summary headline: “FastFact: GenX Household Income Easily Tops Boomers, Millennials”
If you have been reading mattress/ bedding and home furnishings trade journals or attending industry conferences, tradeshows and expos you surely have heard for decades about the purchasing power of BabyBoomers (born 1946-1964), In the past few years you’ve also heard all about the Millennials ( born early 1980’s to mid-latter part of 1990’s) as the next wave of mattress/ bedding customers. The Millennial group has been pictured as the driving consumer force behind the emergence of the online, direct-to- consumer, generally lower price, “one bed fits all, convenience “bed-in- a-box” mattress retail channel that may be as large as 10 to 12% of the overall retail mattress marketplace. Some of these trends treat the Millennials (92.7 million in 2016) as if they directly followed the BabyBoomer Generation ( 81.3 million in2016) nearly ignoring the 61.2 million Gen Xers simply because there are 20 or 30 million fewer of them in number. But then comes this most amazing recent Consumer Expenditure Report as reported by HFB. So what does it say? And why should mattress/ bedding manufacturers and retailers take special note of these numbers?
Well guess what? Despite being 20 million or more fewer in overall number, guess which demographic group has a whole lot more household income and therefore purchasing power? Those 36 to 51 year old consumers “had an average household income of $95,168 in 2016, easily outdistancing Baby Boomers ( who yes, are declining in number) and Millennials ( who have not yet reached their prime income earner power in many cases. HFB reported that “Gen Xers households had the highest mean household income of any generation in history.” According to HFB’s report “GenX had the highest number of wage earners per household at 1.7, an average age of 43.3 years and an average of 3.2 people living at home ( Yup, either mom or a younger Millennial or Gen Z kid is living under the Gen X roof. )
Think about it; that Gen Xer who was born in 1975 in now 43. She is approaching her peak income earning years. She has family. She can afford to move into a new home and to purchase home furnishings. By the way when she goes to the gym her muscles hurt after she works out. She needs restoration and rejuvenation products. When she puts in a 12 hour day, she is beat. She is a mom or he is a dad. They care about their kids. They also care about quality, safety, performance, comfort, and while convenience and ease may be important, price is NOT the only driving factor. They may be buying their second or even third bed, and they sure as heck do not need a $699 to $899 cheap, one-size fits all 20-something bed that leaves them sore, aching, unrested, and exposed to VOC’s and chemicals. College days are two decades in the past now. They are discerning customers, and while they may want an excellent value for their money, they expect quality, comfort, performance and they have the money to purchase an ultra-premium bed, a smart bed, a zoned comfort bed, an adjustable bed and airbed, or an all-natural or “certified organic” healthier and safer bed. If there ever was an opportunity to reach a prime target for superior quality mattresses and bedding it is the 61 million person GEN X market.
There are Two Groups of Millennials ..Those 20 to29 and Those 30 to 35, and they are not the Same!
In late February, we had the good fortune of attending a two day conference put on by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Fiber ( textiles) Council and a full-day Roundtable by the Global Organic Textiles Standard team. One of the speakers, Monique Marez, Director of International Trade for OTA spoke about today’s Millennial consumer. She delivered an eye-opening presentation particularly for some of us who thought most Millennials were alike and motivated by the same factors. But guess what we learned? There are two distinct groups of older and younger Millennials and they are motivated by very different factors. It turns out that having children is the huge dividing line between younger and older Millennials. In fact older Millennials, perhaps those 30 to 35 with children are very focused on health, wellness, safety, and quality. Price is a factor, but not the overriding factor. They are very focused on making purchases that are good and right for their kids. ( In this case they are much more in tune with, and inclined to purchase certified “organic” products than their younger generational siblings…and they will pay more for that certification or label.
So not all Millennials are the college kid, graduate student, ( think the 20-something young woman in the car commercial “three jobs, two boy friends, a car named Brad). Instead the older Millennial parent is a very discerning and selective buyer, and I would suspect not a prime candidate for a cheaper or poorly performing “one or two sizes fit all” mattress. So it seems these older ( think parents) Millennials are very similar to the Gen Xers we discussed above. And here is the good news according to Monique: during the next ten years perhaps 90% of the younger Millennials will also have kids, grow into their mid-30’s and 40’s, and in my opinion, they too will be prime candidates for quality, superior mattresses and bedding.
This blog is compiled and published by Dale T. Read, Owner and Partner of the The Marketing Arm Group, LLC.