HomeWorld Business Magazine, homeworldbusiness.com | The Newspaper For Housewares Decision Makers

History Matters To New Generation Of Consumers

Monday November 22nd, 2010 - 9:13AM


There seems to have been an increase in recent years of articles and supplements in HomeWorld Business covering notable anniversaries of housewares companies.
Few would doubt how important such milestones are to the companies and brands celebrating them. Promoting longevity during a period of business fragility and attrition can affirm a company’s commitment and reliability to its management, its employees and even its trade customers.
The bigger question: Does the consumer care?
The answer: Yes. Perhaps now more than ever.

New Priorities

Findings from an ongoing panel evaluating the consumption attitudes and behaviors of “millennials”— that populous 20-something generation coming of age in terms of buying power— indicates products and brands with an enduring heritage have scaled the list of purchase-motivating priorities for younger consumers in today’s more scrutinizing marketplace.
According to Albing International Marketing’s “Millennial Movers” study, durability and reliability are the most important factors to these consumers, ahead of brand in general and price, when selecting new products.
Robin Albing, president of the marketing consulting company, said the emotional influence of longstanding, “heritage” brands on millennials runs deeper than just the confidence that products by such brands will last for years to come. The findings reveal brands first introduced to these younger consumers by parents and other elders provide a blanket of added trust and comfort, Albing said. Plus, these consumers also connect brands with long histories to social responsibility, which has become a top priority to this generation in all facets of their daily decision-making, Albing added.

Inheriting Trust

A sample of direct comments from the “Millennial Movers” panelists illustrates the potential purchase-compelling perceptions about long-tenured companies, products and brands:
• "I love to hear that a company has been around for 100 years or more. Then I figure it's not going away soon, and could be around for 100 years more."
• "I have inherited a lot of kitchen products from my grandmother, but I see the same products at Walmart. They must be good."
• "I am looking for home products that provide a good return on my investment. I want them to last a long time and not end up in some landfill next year."

Length Of Service

Of course, few companies and brands in this business have been in the market for a century or more. Those that have survived that long deserve plenty of credit. Length of service, though, is not as important as the potential for housewares suppliers and retailers to move heritage to the foreground of their marketing and merchandising strategies as they try collectively to recruit a new generation of consumers.
Product design and pricing still have to fit today’s tastes and expectations to be successful. However, it should be encouraging for many to know a strong link to tradition matters to younger consumers that will set the spending pace for the future of this industry.
It’s an opportunity for market leaders to widen their lead. It’s a second chance for fading businesses and brands to recapture their relevance (see the resounding rebirth of the Burberry luxury fashion brand). And it’s a goal for newer companies that have yet to accumulate a deep heritage but know it could become a highly valued asset at some later time.
A milestone anniversary in business can be much more than a feel-good occasion for the company or brand hitting that milestone. It might be the feel-good difference between shoppers buying a product or not.
They really do care

—Peter Giannetti