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Building for the Future: What Today’s Customer Wants

Posted by Tom Halford, Guest Columnist

Aug 12, 2019 4:27:41 PM

Tom Halford, VP of Premium and Builder Brands of Home Appliances at Samsung, draws on his 20+ years’ experience to share the trends and technology that are shaking up the homebuilding industry.

Changing customers, changing trends

Millennials are all grown up and, today, this segment of buyers ages 37 years old and younger is driving the housing market. Halford remarks, “Millennials are strongly growing in the single-family buyer market and make up the largest share of residents at 37 percent.” ¹

samsung imageWith this shifting demographic comes shifting demands, Halford explains. As 74% of millennials plan to buy a home in the next five years,² there’s an opportunity for builders to capitalize.  “Millennials think differently with modern expectations. This translates to their home appliances. We’re witnessing their willingness to pay a premium in terms of technology, design and innovation.”
The demographic of buyers and renters aren’t the only thing changing. According to Halford, kitchens are also getting larger, which allows for more premium products. “We’re seeing evidence of this popularity with Chef Collection – Samsung’s line of premium built-in appliances. We’re also witnessing more and more apartments include French door refrigerators. In the single-family market, more homes have built-in wall ovens, cooktops and ventilation hoods. This isn’t to say that freestanding ranges are going away; there’s just more space to provide for these products and to allow for more cabinetry.”

Halford is also seeing bold leaps in the use of technology, especially in the form of smart products and — in the case of Samsung appliances — entirely connected living. “Whether it be your smartphone, TV, home appliances or other smart home devices, Samsung stands out in its ability to bring together smart home products to create a connected ecosystem – which we like to call ‘connected living.’ This has been done historically with individual products.”

What homebuyers want: something different

Just like the generations that didn’t want their father’s proverbial car, today’s millennial homebuyers want something different when it comes to their home appliances. “Homebuyers don’t want what they had in their homes growing up,” Halford explains. “We’ve received feedback from buyers that they’re open to something new, and that’s fundamental.”

To catch the eye of today’s homebuyer, builders must offer that something new — new design, new innovation or even a new brand. “At Samsung, we’re able to support builders by aligning with these new customer motivations. For example, I’d say Samsung is a 19% share brand — the leading brand in the home appliance industry — but within the millennial age group, it’s about a 25% share.”

Millennials aren’t the only ones looking for something new and different. Baby boomers are also looking for the same innovation in their homes that they’ve come to expect in other areas of their lives. “Just because they’re not millennials doesn’t mean they’re less likely to want something that they haven’t had before,” Halford says. “That’s the great thing about Samsung innovation; it’s fairly intuitive. People get it. It’s not complex.”

1National Association of Realtors, “Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report,” 2019 

2Bank of America, “Homebuyer Insights Report,” 2018


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