Gen Xers Are Homeowners Who Matter
August 17, 2016
This post originally appeared in MediaPost’s MarketingDaily.
My fellow Gen Xers, it’s our turn to be the hero consumer every home improvement brand wants. We are prime customers in our best earning years. We’re successful, stable and in the market for higher-end homes and home improvement products. And we are in-tune with investment decisions that enrich our homes.
Sandwiched between Boomers and Millennials, both of whom are larger generations and have distinct and overwhelming personalities, we’ve been labeled “the forgotten generation.” It’s as if home improvement marketers went from focusing on high-spending Boomers, directly to the much-hyped Millennial.
Sure, we Xers got off to a slow start shedding our “slacker” reputation. Many of us entered the workforce during the ‘90s recession, and then got hit hard again during the Great Recession just as we were coming into our own. How did this impact Xers? Well, it left many of us underwater in our mortgages. And while we endured this period of time, we never stopped wanting to emulate our Baby Boomer siblings. We watched them transition into successful power tie-wearing professionals with big houses and bigger yards. Well, our time has finally arrived and we want to be heard.
According to the 2016 National Association of REALTORS Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trends, GenX buyers (folks ages 36 to 50) are in their peak earning years with the highest incomes, highest median priced homes and largest homes in median square footage and bedrooms of all generations of buyer types. We’re kind of a big deal.
And as a generation, we’re centered on the home. My wife and I, for example, both value hard work when it comes to our jobs, and find ourselves time-squeezed balancing careers, our children and, more recently, our parents. Our home is our sanctuary and we want to make the most of time spent there. Whether it’s while cutting the grass to prep for family time, or in the kitchen making meals together, we’re constantly looking at ways to improve our home. Or as we like to say, enrich it. It’s the place where we value family first: making memories, entertaining friends and improving upon our largest investment. It’s a never-ending journey, but one my wife and I are passionate about. We always have a number of projects — both DIY and do it for me (DIFM) — in the queue, as home enrichment is what we live for.
Increasingly, Xers are a sandwich generation of another kind — in the midst of raising our children while making decisions for aging and widowed parents. I have the “guilty son complex” as my mom lives alone, 40 miles away, in the house I was raised in. While raising my own child and managing my own home improvement projects, I don’t have time to DIY hers. Yet, she depends on me to take care of her home. But with compressed timelines I often rely on sites like Home Advisor and Houzz to find DIFM solutions for a new basement door, roof repairs or even a dependable lawn service.
While we aren’t as large a generation as our bookend Boomers and Millennials, more and more Gen Xers are an ideal home improvement target. We have the income, resources and interest in enriching the home both for ourselves and for our parents. Yet, marketers often forget us, at their own peril.
Take it from an Xer: we have arrived. We matter. Take a look.