We ended 2018 identifying the rise of institutional real estate as the biggest change of the year. Underlying that is the idea of changes in consumer expectations: push button, get magic. However, what is missing from our analysis so far are some other considerations about the changing real estate consumer.
Since the future consumers are, by their very nature, young, I thought it would be interesting to look at Millennial consumer behavior and trends. What I found was astonishing, in that the data and the information were not new, not unknown, but I had never looked at the whole sweep of what’s going on.
It turns out that our perception of the Millennials is warped by rose-tinted glasses on the one hand, and a strange mythology about “entitled and lazy kids these days.”
Hence, this report.
Let’s be clear about one thing: this is a very difficult topic on which a huge variety of opinions exist among many experts, economists, and academics. There have been studies conducted by companies, universities, government institutions, and think tanks. It is frankly impossible to write a report, even a long one like The Red Dot, on all consumer trends everywhere with all of the issues.
What I wanted to do, therefore, was to talk about some issues that are often flying under the radar. Most of them are not positive upbeat assessments of the future. But understanding consumer behavior has to include understanding both the positive and the negative trends affecting them.
Furthermore, many of these topics and issues are social, economic and political in nature or implication or both. They’re likely to be controversial in one circle or another, and disagreement and resistance are to be expected. And yet, I find that we cannot have an honest analysis of what the real estate consumer of the future looks like without at least discussing these topics and issues.
What I have attempted to do is to minimize the social, economic, and political aspects of these topics wherever possible and focus on the implications for the real estate industry. I may fail, but it will not be for a lack of trying.
This Red Dot, then, will paint with a broad brush – likely overbroad in most situations. It is up to you to translate these high-level trends and issues to what is going on in your neck of the woods for your companies or organizations.
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