Designing for Today’s Consumer and Their Lifestyle
Today’s consumers have unlimited access to information and advice about the products they buy for their homes. For product designers, it’s critical to provide the right products, at the right time, and that these timely introductions are on the leading edge of trend and innovation.
Trends are great indicators as to the type of pattern, color, format, texture, and finish used in home décor. Innovation is translating these trends into ideas – adding value to the trend by the way of new products and services.
When working together, innovation and trend help bridge the gap between an idea and a product, so that we can help deliver products the customer hasn’t seen before. For example, the trend today is that homeowners want to invite people into their homes, to entertain and enjoy the company of friends and family in a warmly unique space. We as manufacturers must find a way to innovate that trend — marry it with the continuing ecletic trend of refined rustic and contemporary furnishings, and colors with gray undertones — to come up with products that fit their lifestyle.
Today’s consumer is very complex, spanning several generations, multiple ethnicities, and a variety of income levels. With this range of diversity comes a wide variety of personal tastes and home fashion trends. We are seeing a shift from a trend for the masses to a trend for “me.” She wants to personalize a trend and adapt it to her own style. But how does the average consumer know all this? She finds inspiration from a wide variety of sources. Primarily, these sources are online whether they are manufacturer websites or more inspirational sites like Pinterest and Houzz. There, she sees other homes and takes bits and pieces from each to create her own unique style.
Almost all manufacturers today provide a robust website that shows products in a room – sometimes in more than one room. And many offer new technologies like room visualizers, allowing consumers to ‘virtually’ see a product in their own room before taking the plunge and making a purchase. This is especially helpful with larger purchasesthat can alter the entire look and feel of a room.
Ultimately, research shows that the female consumer will shop for products that fit her lifestyle, then look to details of that product such as color, design, durability, ease of maintenance, to make her final purchasing decision. And all that information is right at her fingertips! She’ll also be likely to talk to friends and family about the products and companies they love, her ability to go online, post and read reviews, and search for photos prior to making a purchasing decision.
All in all, lifestyle influences, color and design trends, and technology are the roadmap to innovation opportunities.
Vice President Residential Styling
Joe Amato joined Mannington Mills in 1979 as a designer. Served as Manager, then Director or Residential Styling before achieving current position of Vice President. Mr. Amato travels extensively around the world to gauge new trends in color, home fashion, and design.