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Marketing To Millennials Research Study Identifies Top Millenial Kitchen Trends

NEW YORK— For Millennials, like generations preceding it, the kitchen is the “heart of the home,” a place where as children, they found comfort. As up-and-coming adults, this group, busy setting up their own kitchens and starting families, has aspirations that their kitchens, too, will continue to be a gathering spot for family and friends, as well as a place for preparing meals.
In a recent study conducted by Albing International Marketing, research found that understanding the preferences of this influential generation can result in capturing its spending dollars. Millennials At Home: In the Kitchen, Albing’s (AIM’s) most recent research study about the Millennial generation, drills down from the company’s previous research data— Millennials At Home— to identify 11 trends that define the demographic in regard to the kitchen and cooking preferences, as well as offering insights on marketing to this powerful purchasing demographic.
The AIM report focuses on emotional as well as practical considerations for Millennials when it comes to outfitting their kitchens.
AIM’s In the Kitchen study delves into each trend in detail, uncovering insights that can help retailers and manufacturers in the housewares industry resonate with this group.
In the first of a two-part series on Millennial trends, gleaned from the AIM study, HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® focuses on what resonates at the heart of this group.
According to Robin Albing, president of AIM, Millennials feel connected to their kitchens and enjoy cooking. A full 45% of the participants surveyed in the most recent AIM research consider themselves good cooks and 40% love to cook. “The rest consider themselves learners and are open to anything the housewares community can provide,” Albing added.
Based on the AIM research, emotion-based trends influencing Millennials include their love of cooking, a strong sense of connection with their parents, environmental and social responsibility, social personalities, a sense of teamwork and a cautious attitude toward spending. On the practical side, the study focuses on space considerations, cleanliness, technology and how Millennials come to purchasing decisions.
An important consideration when marketing to Millennials, per the AIM research, is that consumers in this generation are comfortable in the kitchen and enjoy cooking and experimenting with a variety of cuisines. This “Generation G(ourmet)” group is well-educated and well-traveled with more sophisticated palates. Add to that the influence of food-related TV programming and Internet access that provides unlimited instruction and recipes, and this is a demographic that not only enjoys the cooking process but has the tools and the curiosity to branch out from traditional fare. “One young woman told us she found a rare Indian spice mentioned in a novel. She had it hand-carried back to her from India,” Albing said. “This shows you what kind of lengths Millennials will go to get the things they research, and how they approach cooking.”
While Millennials relish the idea of trying new things, a strong connection to their parents also makes them traditionalists. According to AIM data, in “Dreams of my Mother,” Millennials consider the kitchens they grew up in to be the “hub of the home.” As such, many in this group aspire to a “warm” kitchen with a sense of nostalgia. As well, the “dream” kitchen should be a gathering place. According to Albing, when conducting the research, many cited the best place in the home was “sitting around my mom’s kitchen island.”
Added to that sense of nostalgia, Millennials also have a strong sense of purpose, and a deciding factor in purchases they make can often be linked to environmental or social responsibility. As “Goodie Two Shoes,” as the AIM report identifies this trend, that responsibility trickles down to the Millennials themselves as they focus on a healthier lifestyle. One key component, however, Albing noted, is that “green has to be green.” Eco-friendly products need to make sense for Millennials from a monetary perspective too. Sixty percent would like to have green kitchens, but not at extra expense.
Millennials are likely not willing to spend more for “green” products, in part, because they are a generation of cautious spenders. In AIM’s “Moneyball” trend, Albing has uncovered that this generation has been hard-hit by the economy and has had to adjust spending accordingly. As a result, Millennials are apt to evaluate their purchases carefully, and they appreciate quality. They are likely to spend a little more for products that are worth the money. “You have to build on reliability and durability,” Albing said. “That’s what this generation wants from products for the home.”
A highly social generation, this “Hunger Games” generation grew up working as part of a team— in schools, in sports and clubs. With group-work an important part of their development, Millennials enjoy social interaction. However, Millennials prefer to take social engagement to the living spaces of the home, utilizing their kitchens for food prep only. For many, according to the study, this can be attributed to space limitations in smaller apartments or homes.
When talking “dream kitchens,” Millennials do want spaces that are large enough to entertain family and friends. One Millennial interviewed for the AIM study noted, “I consider my whole apartment the kitchen. I’ve moved my beverage center into the living room. We can drink and we’re right next to the big screen TV for movie watching and gaming.”
Also, in part as a result of the Millennial’s team mentality, perceived gender-specific tasks— “cooking is woman’s work,” for example— have not transcended to this generation. Among Millennials, men are equal players in the kitchen, with 56% of men “doing at least half of the cooking” in 2008 as compared with 34% in 1997. Millennials are a “Gender Blender” generation, with both men and women making decisions as to what works best in their kitchens.