Exclusive Survey From Better Homes and Gardens Reveals "Next Gen" Homeowners Want Living Spaces That Combine "Smart Homes and Smart Design"

Jan 21, 2015, 11:00 ET from Better Homes and Gardens

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Better Homes and Gardens, which reaches nearly 40 million consumers each month, today released findings from its seventh-annual exclusive survey on the attitude and behavior trends of home buyers in the U.S. This year's research focused on the "next generation" of home buyers and their preferences on topics such as outdoor living spaces, home exteriors, kitchens, and the integration of smart technology and design in the home. Just over 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. 

In a presentation at the International 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 home owners.

"Our research shows that women 35 and under, the 'Millennial generation' see value in owning a home, and their attitudes towards making space livable through smart technology and integrated design are significantly stronger than those of their older cohorts," Waage notes. "The next generation of home owners will lead the way in adopting new technology - making features like the ability to preheat an oven or unlock the front door from your smartphone the new norm in home convenience."

Among the key findings from this year's "You and Your Home" survey include:

ADOPTING SMART TECHNOLOGY
More than half of U.S. women, including 64% of Millennials, believe that smart technology makes their home safer and enjoyable. Respondents report that indoor and outdoor lighting, door locks and security cameras are the areas in which they are most likely to adopt new technology in the future.

While sixty-four percent of Millennials believe that smart technology costs a lot of money, nearly the same amount (61%) also say that it this investment can save energy. Interestingly, survey respondents under 35 are nearly twice as likely as older generations to agree that technology is easily upgraded and maintained, and that it can be customizable to their budgets and needs. For example,

  • 57% of Millennials believe that smart technology is a good investment in their home, as opposed to only 35% of those surveyed age 55 and above; and,
  • 59% of Millennials believe that smart technology can be integrated into their personal style, taste and decor as opposed to only 29% of respondents age 55 and above.

Survey participants indicate that the kitchen and living room are the top rooms in the home to benefit from smart technology – and that digital video recorders (DVRs), heating and cooling systems and television controls are the top technologies that U.S. women currently make use of with smart technology. Compared to those 35 and older, a larger percentage of Millennials see the garage, laundry room, and parent bedroom as rooms in the home that would benefit from smart technology.

ATTITUDES TOWARDS OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE
About half of Millennials report that their current use for outdoor space is limited to grilling, yet a majority want their space to feel like a relaxing retreat for entertaining. Millennials are more likely than older generations to use their outdoor space for meals and to decorate it as they would their living or dining room. Overall, respondents see outdoor living space as an extension of the home and an important place for family to spend time together.

  • Three out of four (73%) participants under 35 report that outdoor space is important for entertaining, in comparison to only 46% of those surveyed over age 55, and 59% of those surveyed between the ages of 35-55.
  • Currently, half (47%) of Millennials have a fire pit or fireplace in their outdoor living space, as opposed to only one out of five (19%) of those over age 55. Twenty-five percent of Millennials currently have a sound system installed and 22% report using a television outdoors – as opposed to 13% and 6% respectively of those over age 35.
  • 51% of Millennials dream of having an outdoor kitchen sink, cooktop, refrigerator and grill in comparison to only 25% of those over age 55 and 37% of those 35-55. Fifty-three percent of Millennials surveyed responded that they dream of having outdoor lamps, party lights and landscape lighting in their outdoor living space.

DREAMS FOR THE YARD
U.S. women dream most about adding outdoor elements such as fountains or ponds; products that improve security; low maintenance plants; and, wider and stone-paved paths/patios to their yard. Millennials have greater interest than those who are older in investing in security products, edible landscaping, play-space for kids, and larger/wider stone-made paths and patios.

  • 51% of Millennials dream of adding products that improve security to their yards, as opposed to only 31% of respondents over age 55.
  • 39% of Millennials report a desire for edible landscaping, where only 21% of those above 55 agree that this is an important feature for their yards.

OPINIONS ON CURB APPEAL
The majority (86%) of U.S. women agree that an up-to-date exterior adds to the value of their property, and 70% agree that the front of the home should be a reflection of their personal style. However, 1 in 4 women agree that exterior makeovers are expensive and not worth the investment. A significantly higher percentage of Millennials identify with that statement, and may need the most convincing to make changes.

  • 33% of Millennials report that exterior makeovers are expensive and not worth the investment, as opposed to 16% of those 55 and over.
  • 64% of Millennials report using a pop of color to enhance the curb appeal of their homes – compared to 51% of respondents over age 55.
  • Exterior features that rank most highly on the list of planned improvements include improved landscaping, upgraded lighting, and a new front door rank high.

"The next generation of home owners want smart stylish homes that enable them to connect with friends and family," says Waage. "This connected generation views technology as a way to get greater enjoyment from their home living experience as well as piece of mind."

About the survey: The quantitative online survey was fielded October 23November 10, 2014 among 1,648 U.S. female homeowners living in single-family homes. Of those surveyed, 807 respondents (49%) reported themselves as Better Homes and Gardens readers belonging to the "Meredith Knows Women" consumer panel, while 841 respondents (51%) were secured through Survey Sampling Inc. The sampling error on the total sample (n=1,648) is +/- 2.4%.

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SOURCE Better Homes and Gardens