Lowe’s, the home improvement retail giant, has launched its first media agency review in more than a decade, and their recent marketing efforts may indicate why: They need to effectively reach the older millennial demographic.
Lowe’s Chief Marketing Officer, Marci P. Grebstein told The Wall Street Journal that they’re focusing “on digital and social to reach older millennials,” which means a departure from past tactics that included how-to instructional content.
Right now, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are taking on the lion’s share of home improvement projects, making up more than 80% of all home improvement spending. You might think that millennials, the oldest of which are in their 30s, would make up the other 20% - but you’d be wrong. In fact, 15.3% of the remainder is spent by their grandparents. Millennials themselves have a spending share of 2.6%.
Lowe’s may be chasing a market that isn’t there – yet
The brand seems to be banking on millennials taking after their parents, and with some reason. Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies expects the home improvement industry to grow at a 3.5% rate annually as Millennials overtake Baby Boomers in number.
But that expectation may be overly optimistic.
Considering that millennials have been blamed for homeownership rates dropping to the lowest level since 1965, this isn’t a group that yearns for turf to call their own.
“The drop in homeownership is largely due to a delay in homebuying by the millennials, who have the lowest ownership rate of their age group in history. Millennials are not only burdened by student loan debt, but they have also delayed life choices like marriage and parenthood, which are the primary drivers of homeownership.” – Diana Olick, CNBC
Perhaps “delayed” is the operative word, and if so, the brands that win millennials’ trust now are ensuring a long and prosperous future. If, that is, millennials ever get around to buying houses.
Lowe’s’ most recent marketing targets new millennial homeowners with short videos on social media, “Made in a Minute” Facebook posts, and even “In a Snap” videos for Snapchat that allows viewers to hammer, drill and chisel to complete a DIY project by tapping on their phones. Their latest “DIY Guy” videos are about everything from locking pliers to carving pumpkins with power tools, helmed by a bearded, plaid-wearing Chris Byron.
Clearly, Lowe’s has been making some assumptions about their target market – that millennials will be buying homes, and that men are doing the research and making purchase decisions for their home projects.
We think they might be mistaken.
Our question is: Who is actually doing the home improving, and has Lowe’s been targeting the right market segment?
DIY Home Improvers – It’s not Tim “The Toolman” Taylor anymore
We dug into the data to reveal the specific demographic Lowe’s should be chasing: Young, married women.
DIY Home Improvers are 77% women, 62% of whom are married, 71% without children, between the ages of 25 to 44 (smack dab in the middle of the older half of the millennial generation, sliding into younger GenXers).
Not only do they follow DIY blogs and read Home & Garden publications, they frequent museums and art galleries, read books and poetry (and gossip websites), and enjoy a little nightlife (either at dance clubs or low-key bars).
In short, the millennial DIY Home Improver is a complex character. You can’t pigeon-hole her. She enjoys design and isn’t afraid to get dirty, and she probably wields her power tools with manicured hands.
Lowe’s needs more than a creative review. They need an agency able to lead them out of their man cave mentality.
Are you that agency?
Find out more about how Lowe’s current demographic compares with our analysis of DIY Home Improvers in our Lowe’s Home Improvement Pitch brief.