Collins The Trend Tracker
by Mike Collins
June 29th, 2018

Winning Sales from Aging in Place

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders confirms that remodeling trends that allow homeowners to age in place are on the rise

The survey centered on responses from remodelers, since they have the most knowledge of the “last mile” to the actual consumer of the doors, windows and other products homeowners are buying and their reasons for doing so. The study showed that the strongest reasons for remodeling continue to include “better or newer amenities,” the need to repair old components and the desire for more space.

Aging in place was a mid-tier reason that is on the rise. With roughly 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day from now until 2030, the drive to age in place will only continue to gain momentum. Many baby boomers find themselves straddling the somewhat casual desire to make aging-in-place-related decisions in their own home while wrestling with the often very urgent need to do so in the homes of their now very elderly parents.

In our view, one of the key challenges in the effort to age in place is the lack of a clear blueprint for changes are needed in order to allow a person to age in place. The actual steps that are taken, and the order in which they are taken, will vary with each individual’s physical capabilities. What is needed, though, is a mutual effort on the part of manufacturers of doors, windows and all other home products to create groups of solutions and menus of options from which consumers can choose. Taking the approach of fixing issues such as the need for automated doors or windows, wheelchair friendly door thresholds, bathroom grab bars, and other items means allowing each of those areas to become a potentially dangerous problem before addressing them.

A better approach would be an objective determination of all the ways in which a typical home needs to be upgraded in order to ensure aging in place. Ideally, this blueprint would follow the good-better-best approach regarding pricing of the sets of options that is so common in the building products industry. In this way, consumers could identify the most basic solutions to the most dangerous potential issues and then work their way up, budget permitting, to the “nice to have” items at the higher end of the spectrum.

Companies, whether manufacturers or distributors, that find a way to collaborate on educating consumers about the full range of aging in place options stand to be rewarded handsomely with increased sales over the next decade and beyond.

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