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From Home Furnishing Business

Editor's Letter: Consumers – What Do They Want?

By Bob George,

It is hard to remove the “me” from strategic decisions that will impact your company for the next decade. It is easy to give lip service to including the perspective of the younger generation into the decision making process. However, they come to the table ill prepared to “discuss” their perspective with the older generation that have the benefit of decades of experience. Even the best managers find it hard to resist the urge to kill the idea instead of helping to embellish with their experience.

The current generation of senior management at least are solidly “Baby Boomers” and have forgotten the transition that they endured with the pre-Baby Boomers – those now in their 70’s-80’s. Several years ago in a senior level meeting, a new member of the executive team admitted his new fiancée was intimidated by the size of their stores and breadth of selection and they shopped at Pottery Barn. No, he wasn’t fired – he was family - but it impressed upon me the difficulty of incorporating the perspective of younger consumers.

The key challenge for traditional retailers will be to allow their retail operations to transition from the Baby Boomers that have served them well for the past 30 years and move forward to serve the next Generation (Gen X 35-45) and the generation beyond (Millennials <35).

The graphic below presents how the new and existing age groups consider furniture attributes during the shopping process.

Major takeaway: the younger generation values comfort more than price, but they still want quality and design (aesthetics).

It is not hard to understand what they want, just ask.







b i u quote


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