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Thursday, May 5, 2011

More people under one roof

This morning’s USA Today offered a story about an important trend in housing:  It appears that more people are sharing the typical residence.  Click here to see the article.  

Implications:   There’s a bit of irony to this story.  It was affluence that led to bigger houses holding few people over the past fifty years or so.  But it was economic hardship that led to the reversal over the past several years.  The recession forced foreclosures and unemployment hardships; people who lost their homes moved in with family or friends, adult children were more likely to put-off moving out of the house, and some college grads were more likely to move back home than strike out on their own.

If you sell home furnishings, appliances, or home improvement, it’s critical to pay close attention to this trend.  Think about your industry or inventory and ask:

Are their accessories that let someone cordon-off their bedroom as if it was an apartment (think home electronics, headphones, personal TVs, laptops, room dividers, dorm-room style refrigerators, etc.).

Are there smaller furnishings that fit more comfortably into a crowded house or apartment?  (Down-sized versions of the recliner, a loveseat instead of a sofa, and perhaps with a pull-out bed?)  I’m having flashbacks about beanbag chairs and futons, here!

Do you offer an escape, when someone simply needs to get away from the crowd?  (I’m thinking about how coffee shops, bars and restaurants could benefit from this issue!)

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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