Bloomberg reports that Millennials (ages 18 to 34) own 11% of the owner-occupied housing in the United States – only half the ownership rate Baby Boomers had achieved when they were in their early adulthood.
People over 55 now account for 53% of owners, and Gen X-ers (35-54) make up 36%. The problem for Millennials is that few Boomers are interested in selling, creating a shortage of opportunities to enter the housing market.
The article holds lots of implications for the wider consumer economy. Will the housing industry step up to deliver houses and condos that Millennials can afford to buy, rather than rent? If not, will Millennials patiently save up to buy whatever becomes available when it becomes available – perhaps after elderly householders die and the homes they’ve sat on come up for sale at last? Or will significant numbers of Millennials give up aspirations of home ownership and spend what would otherwise have been home equity on other consumer goods and services?
Whatever the answers might be, brands and companies need to have them, and consumer researchers will have a hard time obtaining them if they don’t take to heart what virtually all Millennials’ have in common: an overwhelming attachment to their smartphones. For research, the challenge is to realize this represents a big opportunity if they can get mobile right. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Track Millennial shoppers at the Point of Emotion® with in-store or after-visit geolocation surveys.
- Understand which social advertising messages test well with Millennial consumers, by injecting test ads unobtrusively into the targeted audiences’ news feeds on Facebook and other social media.
- Target Millennials by the apps they use – for example, you could talk to users of the Zillow app for rental housing searchers about their intent to own a home someday, even if they’re looking to rent right now. Are they setting aside money to eventually buy? Or does their American dream not necessarily require owning their own homes?
Why conduct these projects on mobile? Because you’ll be reaching Millennials in their comfort zone, especially if you make sure to go with research that exploits a mobile survey app instead of merely connecting the phone to a survey that’s housed online. About 90% of Millennials use smartphones and spend the vast majority of their time on mobile using apps. Flurry Analytics reports that the average U.S. adult spends more than 4½ hours per day with mobile apps.
If you’ve encountered problems connecting with enough Millennials, or with the right demographic segments within the Millennial generation, chances are you haven’t tried in-app mobile to get in touch.That’s how you’ll find them, because no matter what kind of residence they may have, they're at home inside their mobile apps. For a productive conversation about in-app mobile and how it can meet your specific project needs, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for a quick, fun video introduction to in-app mobile research, just click here.