Generational Tastes, Move To Smaller Homes Driving Storage

NEW YORK NY – The previously high-growth $7.4 billion market for home organization and storage has slowed down due to the housing collapse and enduring economic problems, according to “Home Organization in the U.S: General Purpose, Closet, Garages, and Storage Sheds,” a report released Monday (Nov. 14, 2011) from a market research firm called Packaged Facts.

The market has nonetheless performed relatively well due to several factors, the report claimed. Americans perennially have a lot of stuff that needs organizing and storing, it said, whether forming new households, downsizing into apartments or condos, remodeling rather attempting to sell or buy in uncertain economic times, or to seasonal factors such as spring cleaning, back-to-school events, winterizing wardrobes, and the holidays.

Until the financial and housing collapse in 2008, closet and garage organization products were the main drivers of growth, the report said. Consumers kept up demand for custom-installed closet and garage organization systems. As conditions worsened, however, demand for these discretionary purchases declined; consumers shifted to buying less expensive do-it-yourself products, or avoided buying altogether.

Consumers are also shifting to more compact housing, U.S. Census Bureau data shows, reversing a long-standing trend. From 1995 to 2007, the median size of new one-family homes grew from 1,920 to 2,277 square feet. In the wake of the Great Recession, however, the median size has scaled back to 2,169 square feet. Indications are that new homes (as well as garages) will continue this downsizing trend due to economic forces, tightened consumer credit, and sustainability concerns.

While people in all age groups want spaces and goods that reflect their personalities and lifestyles, specific demands typically vary according to lifestage.

  • Millennials may be either moving back home with parents or wading deeper into the market for household furnishings.
  • Gen X consumers are of home-buying age, further advanced in their careers, and have growing families. They may be looking for specific storage solutions in the kitchen or entertainment areas, and for kids’ bedroom and playroom storage products.
  • Baby Boomers have been major drivers of the consumption boom over the last decade. Many are planning to stay in their current homes over the next five to 10 years, and are focusing on home retrenchment and re-organization for the longer term.
  • Seniors often need user-friendly, easy-access storage solutions, especially in the wake of downsizing.

This article was originally published on the Polley Associates‘ blog
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