Better Homes and Gardens Survey Finds Millennials Value Personalization in the Home

February 5, 2016

Better Homes and Gardens has released findings from its eighth-annual exclusive survey revealing attitude and behavior trends of homeowners in the United States. This year’s research focused on the millennial generation and its preferences on customization and smart technology in home design. Slightly more than 1,600 U.S. female homeowners living in single-family homes shared their thoughts on home improvement spending, the importance of functional design and value in home technology.  

During a presentation at the National Association of Home Builders Show in Las Vegas, Jill Waage, brand executive editor for Better Homes and Gardens presented these findings and offered insight on the needs of today’s current and future homeowners.  

“Our research shows that women 35 and under feel strongly that their homes are a reflection of their own personalities,” Waage said. “Further, members of this generation view technology as a way to customize living spaces to fit their needs. Year over year, millennials are increasingly adopting a positive outlook on the incorporation of smart technology into their homes, and are using it to personalize the homeowner experience.”

Key findings from this year’s “Home Factor” survey include a focus on personalization and the integration of smart home technology. 

Millennials place importance on maintaining a home that is more personalized to their preferences than the generation before them. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of millennial respondents surveyed say that having a home customized to their tastes and needs is a top priority. Similarly, six in 10 millennial respondents say that having a home that is “a reflection of me” is more important to them than to their parents’ generation. 

Smart technology is increasingly seen by US women, particularly those under 35, as a feature that improves home safety, health, and connections with families. Millennials agree that smart technology is customizable to their needs (74 percent), makes their homes more energy efficient (70 percent) and saves them time (67 percent). This penchant for smart technology has increased since the previous year’s survey. Further, the millennial cohort feels that smart home technology is becoming easier to maintain. Fifty-five percent of millennial respondents say that smart home features are easily maintained and upgraded, as compared to only 46 percent of millennial respondents in 2014.

The survey also found that compared to older generations, millennials are willing to pay more for high quality products. However, while 44 percent say they are willing to spend top dollar to get exactly the features and quality they want, 60 percent also say they are willing to compromise on what they want in order to save money. 

Of those surveyed, one in five homeowners is in the process of planning or working on an interior project – led by those ages 35 and younger. While millennial homeowners are similar to older homeowners with regard to the many types of projects they are working on and planning, survey responses showed a higher interest in creating office space and adding storage at home. The idea of personalization also extends into exterior spaces, and about half of millennials (51 percent) report that they decorate their outdoor living space like they would an indoor dining or living room. More than three-quarters (77 percent) say they want their outdoor living space to feel like a relaxing retreat.

“The places where millennials choose to spend their money are very telling of the values within this generation,” Waage notes. “The addition of a home work space speaks to the mobile millennial who is less confined by a corporate office or job. The emphasis on outdoor living and entertaining testifies to the importance of togetherness. And with the addition of smart home technology, millennial attitudes toward the home incorporate connectivity in every sense.”

The quantitative online survey was fielded in October 2015 among 1,610 U.S. female homeowners living in single-family homes. Of those surveyed, 800 respondents (49.7 percent) are from the Better Homes and Gardens “Meredith Knows Women” consumer panel, while 810 respondents (50.3 percent) were secured through Survey Sampling Inc. to represent U.S. female homeowners.