The Challenge for 2018 and Beyond – Designing for Millennials
Millennials have officially become the largest consumer group and they will shape our future in ways that no other generation has done. Their unique take on change is that they are the first generation to have never known life without the Internet.
Millennials are determined to experience everyday things in ways far different from previous generations. This is the generation that puts off marriage, many decide not to have kids and they are much more likely to become an entrepreneur. They also like to use the same space for more than one activity.
All of these facts about Millennials have a major impact on how to design an office or a home for a them. Their habits and behaviors point to minimal spaces that are highly flexible, making it imperative that the architect needs to tune in and create an environment that can quickly morph into a new one – in other words, combining innovation and flexibility to create a vision of the future.
The current Millennial age is 21 to 36 and they tend to be highly educated, tech savvy and civic oriented. They see themselves as global citizens and like to make life decisions that are ‘good for the planet’.
This means they like real materials, not fake ones. However, they also like to know that the real materials were created in a sustainable way. The bottom line? Don’t design a dining room ceiling with a starry night mural – plan on an outdoor patio in a neighborhood with strict night lighting policies that will create a natural view of a starry night. Millennials have come to appreciate natural beauty and are offended with too much ‘fakeness’.
However, due to the fact that they have grown up in a world governed by the internet, Millennials are very tech savvy and expect to have technology at their fingertips 24/7. When it comes to home design, they want a ‘smart home’. When it comes to office design, they expect ease of use and the convenience of custom Apps.
The “Cone Millennial Cause” study found that just over 80 percent of survey respondents volunteer either weekly, monthly or once or twice a year. They want to affect change and have taken on the weight of the world.
Recycling is a part of their everyday lives, so make sure to install recycling bins in your facility. Every building has all types of recycle trash coming through it on a daily basis and having recycle bins communicates that you care about the same things that your millennial consumers care about. It’s a subtle statement that isn’t costly but will make a big difference in how your business is perceived.
Having an energy efficient building makes financial sense for all businesses, but it’s not enough to just switch out a few light fixtures. Designing visible energy attributes into your building sends a message to your Millennial patrons that your business is prepared to do as much as possible to contribute to a better world. Don’t shy away from solar panels, celebrate them!
Keep in mind that highly educated Millennials know what they want and are not afraid to stand up for what they think is right. Cater to that mindset, and they will consistency support your business for years to come.