Italian Millennials are dictating the new parameters in decor and furnishing.
It’s important to know your potential clients in order to understand their needs and behaviours and to adapt your products and services accordingly. This is a crucial awareness of how social change can influence business decisions. Research commissioned by FederLegnoArredo and carried out by Pambianco Business Strategies has brought to light valuable information on buying habits in the furniture sector.
The study shows that there are two clearly distinct groups in terms of buying behaviour: these are Millennials (aged 28-36) and Adults (over 36).
Where and how they look.
Regarding behaviour prior to the decision to buy, the Pambianco study reveals several facts:
- The internet is the most commonly-used method of researching products and brands, finding brands not available in multi-brand stores and comparing prices.
- Everyone believes they know how to furnish a home, partly thanks to the internet and social media.
- Research is done predominantly by product category and/or on multi-brand websites (similar to multi-brand showrooms).
- Instagram is the most frequently-used social media, particularly by Millennials, to find out about the latest trends around the world. Millennials also follow non-Italian pages.
- E-commerce itself is a source of information and guidance.
Also extremely important are indications about the communications channels used to guide choices. Although word-of-mouth is very important, especially for the Millennials, magazines remain a major reference point even today. Editorial articles help consumers to understand how to best use furniture, with suggestions on matching, colour schemes etc.
All sources agree in lamenting a general trend towards conformity of style in every price range, and therefore customisation is now a fundamental element in the home, particularly for Millennials.
“I recognised myself completely in this analysis, both as an entrepreneur and as a parent”, commented Norberto Panzeri, CEO of Panzeri Carlo Illuminazione, in an interview with Lodi daily paper ‘Il Cittadino’, “I recently worked with my son on the furnishing of a house. We found we were pretty much in agreement on the budget, less so on methods of purchase“.
Design, eco-sustainability and technology.
Design is an integral part of the everyday life of all of us. From a very early age we are asked to choose an object for more than just its practical application. Therefore the aesthetics of an object is a major factor when it comes to choosing what to buy.
Young people’s heightened concern for environmental sustainability means an increased demand for furniture made in non-toxic materials for everyone (among Adults this concern was primarily about children) and production methods with a lower environmental impact.
Home automation is increasingly playing a part in the lives of interviewees for the survey. For the Adults this is something they are obliged to deal with and endure, little understood and unwelcome; while for the Millennials home automation is a necessity and a choice.
Meeting the tastes of the new generation.
And so, what is the scenario outlined by the Millennials, the generation who are making their homes now, or at least thinking about it? The level of competition will rise further, because the profile identified by the survey in question is that of individuals who are open to experiences, yet well-balanced and rational in their choices, who seek an excellent price/quality ratio and bespoke products, and who despise homogenisation.
“The optimum is to create an alliance, a synergy between generations in businesses and on the markets“, declared Norberto Panzeri, again in “Il Cittadino’. “As an entrepreneur I can say that I’m not afraid of new challenges and I’m ready to take them on, by presenting products that are always innovative. And to work better all the time, I can fall back on a football metaphor: our young people should be the strikers, and we older ones the goalkeepers. Because new ideas and youthful enthusiasm move us forwards into the future, but experience gained over years of work remains extremely important”.
So the Millennials demand modern, strongly market-focused companies, which can handle the digital aspect in 360° (website, social media, info-commerce, e-commerce…). For Panzeri, this means not only continuing to stay up to date (in terms of technology, design and management), but also engaging with systemic activities such as sector associations.
Norberto Panzeri himself occupies several prestigious roles in Assolombarda (as President of the Furnishing-Design Division and Vice-president of the Fashion-Furnishing-Design Group) and Federlegno, while Federico Panzeri is a member of the Youth board of FederlegnoArredo, a group involved in the promotion and support of the Lentate Training Hub:
“The Hub’s new premises”, Federico tells Sussidiario.net, “will mark a decisive strategic step for the pilot project: to further increase FederlegnoArredo’s ability to meet the demands of the sector, address social issues of education and employment, and also economic and business interests, by promoting the school/work integrated training approach in an area that’s packed with “Made in Italy” vitality”.