Designing for the Next Generation of Customers
Understanding how Millennials and Gen-Z differ is important, to prepare your business and stay relevant for the future. Millennials are digital adopters, born into a world where digital technology began to emerge. Gen-Z are digital natives, born into a world where digital technology has always existed. Both readily embrace new technology.
In 2018, Millennials are between the ages of 23 – 37 years, and Gen-Z are between the ages of 9 – 23 years. There is, of course, no easy way to arrive at a single point of view for these generations with such a wide age range and many other variables in their lives. Media headlines have been quick to label Millennials as one homogeneous group, incorrectly characterising the generation with bold stereotypes.
What is important when considering these generations as your target demographic, is to understand what is happening at a macro level. The impact of a rapidly changing and uncertain world is defining a shift in patterns and life events of Millennials and Gen-Z. Combined with their readiness to embrace ever-evolving technology, this poses big opportunities for future innovation. It’s this combination that is influencing new demands and drivers.
At Kinneir Dufort, we have identified two areas that we believe have particular significance for each generation.
HOME OWNERSHIP: From Entertainment Out, To Entertainment In...
The UK is a culture devoted to home ownership, which has never been so costly. In the 1990's average house prices were five times the average salary. Today prices are ten times that and rising. Consequently, people are buying much later in life.
We believe that buying later in life will naturally lead people to invest more in making the most of time at home. Spending the disposable income they have on in-home investments, activities and experiences.
Embrace the shift from entertainment out, to entertainment in, and identify future home experiences. How might we create a sense of investing in experiences rather than a product, looking beyond the function products provide and towards the moments or memories they create?
Take for example screenless interactions with Google Home, Amazon Echo and more recently Apple’s HomePod. How might technology and propositions develop to create meaningful screenless entertainment?
MODERN FAMILY: From Time Apart, To Time Together...
As a brand you should no longer assume you’re just talking to Mum. It’s important to remember that being a parent is just one part of a Millennial’s identity. Roles in households are shifting significantly. Naturally, balancing a career is equally as valuable as making time together as a family.
We believe that Millennial parents will continue to balance work and home, as more workplaces offer greater flexibility to make that possible. However, with time being so precious, product simplicity and purpose has never been so important.
Explore and create simple ways to feel more connected to family. How might technology enable time apart, to feel like time together?
For example, Kinneir Dufort developed the In-Touch product concept, to demonstrate how a tangible connection between parent and child can be enabled when apart. The product encourages keeping in touch using tactile and visual senses.
EDUCATION: New Learning Dimension...
While the eldest of Gen-Z have recently graduated from university (and a significant proportion of younger members of Gen-Z will embark on higher education over the coming years), enrolment to university in the UK is in decline, with UK applicant figures decreasing by 5% to a total of 469,4901.*
We believe that if the decline of applicants continues, this generation will look to alternative ways to learn, such as ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ (MOOCs). These have potential to revolutionise education, although currently they offer no formal qualification. We believe this could be set to change if demand continues.
Embrace the shift from traditional physical learning to adaptive learning. How might we identify future solutions beyond a duplication of the classroom? With emerging technology and a pull for more flexible learning methods, will we move away from books or screen learning to mixed reality learning?
For example, Microsoft Hololens enables immersive experiences, allowing students to access a whole new dimension of learning. Could this create a new avenue of remote online learning?
NEW INDEPENDENCE: Flexible Living...
Gen-Z have a new level of independence ahead of them, they are set to leave home for university or enter the workplace. Unsurprisingly, Gen-Z have been labelled generation rent, with more than half of Gen-Z and Millennials (aged between 20-39) locked in the rental market*. The likelihood of Gen-Z being able to achieve the goal of property ownership has never been tougher. The number of those renting homes is set to rise to 7.2 million by 2025.
We believe that mirroring the emergence of co-working, the housing market will see a rise in co-living, which could hold both financial and social incentives for this generation.
Explore and identify solutions that offer flexibility and scalability, to suit the living styles of the future. How might services and the sharing economy offer greater flexibility for generation rent?
For example, We Live (the sister company of We Work) is a co-living space in New York and Washington DC that offers young professionals an all-inclusive approach to renting a home. Built upon community and flexibility, included in the package is room rental, furnishing, laundry, housekeeping, Wi-Fi and utilities, and even refreshments such as tea and coffee.
Find out more:
To discuss how you can utilise these opportunities in your business, contact KD's Head of Strategy, Kelly Dawson: [email protected]
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