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Pay Attention to What's Next

While 2021 shows promise of a return to something resembling normal, much of what consumers have had to embrace through the last year is likely here to stay.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This last year has been for assessing… and pivoting… and assessing again… and pivoting again. Coronavirus and all that came with it pretty much dominated our lives and our business decisions. While 2021 shows promise of a return to something resembling normal with vaccines on the way, it is likely that much of what consumers have had to embrace through the last year is here to stay. Does that mean they’ll never set foot in your store again or want an in-person design consultation? No, of course not. 

But, will they continue researching the heck out of the furnishings they want online or expect design information digitally alongside those in-person visits? Most likely. 

According to studies, the pandemic has moved consumer adoption of technology at a pace that would have taken 10 years otherwise. We’ve become accustomed to shopping online, having things delivered, and never leaving the sofa even when we’re searching for a new one! We’ve been heading in this direction for some time; 2020 has just moved it along a bit quicker. 

As the home-buying/renovating generations start to trend younger, too, it pays to understand your customers’ design needs and how they shop. I’m an empty nester, and I’ve downsized. My children — Millennials — have purchased homes, are starting families and are looking for the furnishings that reflect their lives — different from mine. Gen Z, who are beginning to move into their own homes and apartments might need furnishings that work in small spaces. This generation has grown up with mobile access to anything they want to research, anywhere.  In addition to who is shopping now, we need to be paying attention to who will be shopping next — and how and why.   

As we move into this new year, assess your customer base, and the customer base coming along behind them. If you are currently servicing Baby Boomers and Gen X, you’ll also want to consider how to attract Millennials and Gen Z. 

What do they need? And how will they shop, especially after a pandemic that has essentially changed shopping for every generation. 

In this first issue of 2021, we address some of the design styles of different generations. What are Millennials looking for from their homes? What are those Gen Xers, whose children are just about grown, focusing on in their spaces? What does Gen Z want in their living room? 

Whether you were ready for 2020’s seismic shifts or you had to adapt swiftly, it was certainly a reminder that we can’t be complacent. We need to be ready for what’s coming down the pike, whether it’s new shopping habits or new generations ready to step up their home design game. If last year taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for, well, anything! 

Happy New Year to you and all of our friends in the home furnishings industry! Let’s embrace the positive changes and get ready for what’s next.

Diane Falvey

Diane Falvey is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture, Lighting & Decor, leading the editorial direction of the brand, and continuing to build the brand’s reach and messaging through print, digital and event platforms. Falvey came to the brand from Dallas Market Center, where as Editor-in-Chief, she was responsible for creative and content direction for the Source magazine and the Market Center’s other editorial publications. Falvey also served as Editor-in-Chief of Gifts & Decorative Accessories, a monthly trade publication and digital platform designed to support gift and home retailers.

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