Who comprises the millennial generation? And what are their passions, preferences or needs when it comes down to integrating the latest in technology with their living spaces? First, consider these facts about the fast-growing millennial generation:
* Mobile technology is their platform of choice;
* Millennials want to be in control and to solve their own problems without employing outside sources for help;
* They want exceptional online experiences, seamlessly integrating technology into their lifestyles at work and at home.
The millennial generation: need to rethink ways of creating living spaces
So, how do these factors influence their choices in where and how they live – whether it’s a rental unit or a condo suite? Let’s start by defining these millennials, whose parents are often described as baby boomers. An article and infographic in Forbes Magazine captures the characteristics of this demanding generation in the U.S.
* Millennials are primarily in the 19-to-36 age group;
* They have an estimated purchasing power of nearly $2 trillion in U.S. dollars;
* At 75 million, this generation represents a huge and rapidly-growing demographic in the U.S.;
* The average household is $60,000.
A recent article from the Washington Post notes that developers, architects and designers have to seriously rethink the way they create living spaces for these 19- to 36-year-olds. Because their priorities break with tradition, millennials can be quite content in apartments and condos, which have been shrinking in size over the last several years.
In their modest surroundings, young people want to ensure their physical space – which could be no more than a few hundred square feet – complements their digital preferences.
Online culture rules for millennials
In their apartments or condo units, interactive technologies drive their work and leisure interests. They’ll use smart phones, websites and mobile apps to manage their personal environment. They can already rig their phones to control lighting, open window blinds or unlock doors.
And as early adapters of technology, they’ll shop for the latest devices to protect their property – from detecting intruders to getting alerts on hazards such as fire, smoke and water leaks right on their phones. No matter where they are in the city or anywhere in the world, they’ll receive special alerts about impending dangers in their apartments.
Smart thermostats from Honeywell and Google’s Nest can control or automate temperatures from anywhere, using a smart phone. In the kitchen, millennials can already tweet and access Google from smart refrigerators and even control slow cookers, which can be monitored from a remote location. In future, this young generation may even require e-car charging stations at their buildings or close to where they live.
Favouring “green choices” in where they live and the products they buy
For those young apartment renters or condo owners who want the best of the urban lifestyle, local amenities play a big role. Obviously, the millennials want to be close to shops, theatres, restaurants, cafes, yoga studios and other places where they can collaborate. It’s even better, if these attractions are within walking distance or a short ride by public transit.
It might be too early to say if that 19 to 36 year old demographic is more environmentally-conscious than Generation X or baby boomers. But in their own apartments and condos, they will favour green choices in the products they buy and in the way they live. It’s telling that of the 75 per cent of American adults who reported buying green products or services, 27 per cent – the largest chunk – were the millennials.
In an online article in the Marketing Pilgrim, writer Cynthia Boris notes that millennials are one of the most highly educated demographic groups in understanding the importance of ecological and environmental conditions. In their living spaces, they will certainly favour LED lighting and a range of smart devices – from controlling temperature to closing window blinds – that they can control in the home or from a remote location.
Bottom line for developers and property managers: If you offer a “green” living style in architectural design, fixtures, lighting, built-in smart devices or leisure amenities, the millennial generation is ready and willing to buy in.
It’s been said the millennials are driven by their passion for the digital life, by sharing and collaborating with others, by self-discovery and by achieving happiness on their own terms. The real challenge here is how the industry – developers, building owners, and property managers – can respond successfully to these lofty ideals.
Linnea Chamberlain, Vice President of The Chamberlain Companies – Managers, Architects, Constructors was recently interviewed during “The ROCK Report” Podcast by Jim Dimanis, COO of ROCK Advisors and had this to say about the Millennial generation, “ The passion of the millennial generation is happiness, sharing, flexibility and self-discovery. I think those apartments that take design through from all points and perspectives and understand the insight and language that these Millennials speak will have great buildings.”
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Derek Lobo is the founder and CEO of SVN Rock Advisors Inc., a real estate brokerage with over 30 years of experience in helping investors make the most out of buying, selling, and renovating purpose-built apartment buildings. Learn more about SVN Rock Advisors Inc., Brokerage on their website at www.SVNRock.ca.