Millennials Mean Business By Tim Hodson

The housing industry was hit hard by the economic recession. Growers and garden retailers felt a lot of that pain since no one was buying plants, trees and shrubs to decorate their new homes.

But that is starting to change as the economy recovers and home sales climb. The demographics of homebuyers also are changing. Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are no longer the biggest groups buying homes.

The real estate website Zillow ( predicts that Millennials will surpass Gen X as the largest group of home buyers in 2015. According to a recent Zillow survey, more than half of the 18- to 34-year-olds are planning to buy a house in the next one to five years. In 2014, the National Association of Realtors reported that 31 percent of homebuyers were Millennials.

But when it comes to making landscaping, home improvement and decorating purchasing decisions, these younger consumers shop differently than Baby Boomers ever did.

Different Kind of Shopper

In their purchasing prime, Baby Boomers didn’t have the Internet to provide them with inspiration for their gardening and home decorating purchases. But Millennials have been using the web all of their lives so it is a given they will go online (usually using a mobile device) and also turn to social media channels for their purchasing inspiration. But they still need help.

Today’s Millennials are depending on retailers to help educate them on what types of products are available and how they can use them in their homes. But before they buy something they will seek out in-store events that cater to their age group for additional education.

This is a great opportunity for growers to get in touch with this new and emerging class of consumers — at garden center events!

Does your company take advantage of these events? If you don’t, you may be missing out on a chance to cultivate new and long-term customers.