The last 12 months have been a year unlike any other. You might even believe that it was a year that blew up all the trends. It was not.
Our inaugural issue of What the Future in late 2017 also focused on housing. “We’re seeing a fluidity of living,” IKEA’s Mary Lunghi said then about how homes, and even individual rooms, served as schools and offices and yoga studios.
Ipsos surveyed 18- to 34-year-olds then and now about whether they want to own or rent. We asked if people wanted to own detached homes or apartments and condos. Those numbers haven’t budged. For years, we’ve asked people what they value in a community: things like affordability, low crime rates, cultural amenities and more. Again, hardly a blip in the data.
In other words, much of what we’re seeing now is merely an acceleration of long-standing trends. One possible exception—and it’s a little early to tell for sure—is a likely temporary reversal of a decades-long decline in migration and mobility that we’ll discuss later.
The funny thing about the future is that what’s happened in the past and what’s occurring now will shape it. Today’s beliefs and actions shape tomorrow’s trends. So if you had been watching, listening, paying attention, and, yes, researching in 2017, your product lines and even your own homes would have been prepared to handle many of last year’s challenges.
Americans now are focusing on home in ways they weren’t before. Your customers are looking for their homes to be a sanctuary; our research shows they’re investing to make it so. (Not surprising. Many rarely leave their homes these days.) That’s shaping spending on home furnishings and organization, of course, but also technology, streaming services, transportation, home offices, fitness equipment and more. Their need to be prepared for more of life’s uncertainties is driving what foods are in their pantries—and what aren’t. Some are even buying new homes. How they pay for all of this, and the financing sources they turn to, could see some shifts.
This year’s Housing issue looks at the impacts of that acceleration on omnichannel sales, on the newfound love for outdoor entertainment now that we’re more properly equipped for it, on migration and the all-important stickiness of remote work.
So home is where we want to be, but I guess we’re already there.