This Must Be The Place: Consumers' Evolving Expectations Of Home

The following was previously published in an earlier edition of Marketing Insider.

Buying a home right now is not for the faint of heart or the light of wallet. Between soaring home prices, an uncertain economy, record low home inventories, and an almost doubling of mortgage interest rates since last year, you would expect the appeal of owning one’s castle to have diminished. But economic indicators be damned. Home ownership remains a powerful aspiration.

Smart home brands, however, aren’t taking this growth for granted and are both tracking and tapping into three key trends reflective of consumers’ evolving home-related motivations, and expectations.

Wellness. Our collective desire for well-being has emerged as a powerful influence on home-related purchases. The aspirational Goop-filled spa bathroom is no longer the center of the healthy home, since consumers now view their entire homes, inside and out, through a lens of well-being.



Even home categories that have traditionally led with functional benefits should consider how their products enhance lives now more centered on enjoyment and the desire for happier, healthier days. For example, while an outdoor patio/deck brand might have once focused its messages more squarely on durability, today that brand has an opportunity to elevate its promise to one that taps into our reprioritized relationship with the outdoors.

Resilience. Security, a foundational function of our homes, has now broadened to include resilience, as consumers seek out ways for their homes to weather disruptions wrought by an ever-more-volatile climate. The threat of more severe and unpredictable weather is creating the need for home products and services that provide a sense of control, Readiness is now more than a well-stocked bug-out bag for consumers wondering if their homes can withstand increasingly frequent natural threats.

Brands that help to educate Americans about how to make their homes climate-change ready, and energy efficient, will win as consumers look for ecosystems of resilience in their homes indoors and out. This resulting sense of preparedness will increasingly become another dimension in the home’s already essential role in cultivating well-being in our lives.

Connection. With lifestyles shifting to accommodate hybrid and remote work, our homes now function as both a haven and a hub. With new data indicating that almost 30% of full-time workers continue to work under a hybrid at-home and in-person schedule, those commuting hours are shifting to spending more time on leisure pursuits and activities with family and friends.

In its recent consumer trends report, Drizly noted that 26% of consumers are spending more on alcohol to drink at home than outside their homes, creating a new “home premise” category for adult beverages.

Despite inflationary pressures, out-of-home entertainment will continue to thrive as consumers remain eager to feel the singular thrill of gathering out in the world. But brands will be wise to facilitate our desire to just as quickly revert to homebodies and hosts.

Every nest is different, each constructed to suit unique environments and different needs. But the common thread is that we -- as evolved nest-makers -- all seek out brands that enable wellness, resilience, and connection in our corner of the world.

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