This should come as no surprise: the largest share of our buyer pool is baby boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, members of this generation are known for being adaptable, ambitious and independent. While they've put fewer dollars toward the window and door industry in recent years due to a shaky economy, they're now back in full force. Sphere Trending, Waterford Township, Michigan, an organization that studies trends related to consumer needs, notes that baby boomers currently account for approximately half of all consumer spending.
What might come as a surprise, then, is that baby boomers are quickly making way for millennials. Millennials are not the customers yet, but they will be—and fast. Born between 1980 and 1997, members of this generation are known for being tech-savvy, social and ready to lead. Millennials have previously had little buying power due to high college tuition debt and lower income levels. Their financial situation is changing, however, and they're now
willing to spend on certain kinds of luxury.
As a result, millennials are influencing baby boomers in profound ways—what they buy, how they buy it and how demanding they are. As BUILDER magazine said, millennials are "the first generation that is aggressively challenging the home building industry to listen to their needs, rather than accept a housing stock that does not reflect a
Baby boomers are quickly following millennials' lead. For example, baby boomers have long purchased couches the "old way"—putting in an order with a furniture store and then waiting out the two or three months until delivery. Millennials are used to the "new way"—picking out a couch in a store or online and then waiting just a few days until delivery. Baby boomers are seeing the new ways' merits and adopting it. Zooming out, baby boomers are adopting all sorts of "new ways" that millennials have demanded in the buying process—phone apps, peer reviews, customizable products, etc.
Resultantly, these two generations begin to overlap in terms of buyer type. Baby boomers and millennials exhibit slight differences, but as time goes on, it's increasingly important that manufacturers and dealers understand their key similarities:
- Plenty of discretionary income
- Adopted the Internet and smartphones during adulthood
- Already in a home, looking to renovate or downsize
- Minimal discretionary income
- Know nothing other than the Internet and smartphones
- Buying their first home
- Interested in customization
- Want luxury items
- Expect a quick turnaround time
- Look for competitive pricing
- Increasingly reliant on peer reviews
- Use stores to 'showroom' products