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Millennial Musings

Alexa Boschini
Alexa Boschini joined the Furniture Today Group in May 2012 as assistant editor for Home Accents Today and Casual Living. A native of Greensboro, N.C., she graduated from Elon University in 2010 with a degree in journalism. She spent two years as an award-winning education and features reporter with The Sanford (N.C.) Herald, and has also covered arts and entertainment for Go Triad at the Greensboro News & Record. When she isn't delving into the latest news and trends in home décor, you can find her at the movies, with her nose stuck in a book or volunteering to help the Triad's homeless animals. You can reach her at aboschini@homeaccentstoday.com
  • Designing for Gen Y

    In what seems like countless seminars, webinars and articles recently, I’ve seen designers, retailers and marketers emphasize the importance of data in developing a digital strategy. More and more businesses are using analytics and A/B testing to measure and understand their customers’ behavior, and adjusting their approach in response to that feedback to better meet customer needs. So I was intrigued when I learned that a group of builders, architects and designers applied a similar idea to a physical, big-ticket item – a house. Last month I caught up with designer Bobby Berk to discuss the Responsive Home Project ... Read More
  • The next-gen home

    Perhaps one of the most discussed topics about my generation is our comparatively slow entry into the housing market. Hindered by student loan debt and low credit scores, many Millennials struggle with making the leap to homeownership despite the overall economic recovery. This, of course, is not welcome news for home furnishings. Particularly for young first-time homebuyers who likely haven’t yet invested in a lot of décor, buying a home means buying more furniture. But Millennials do want to buy homes, and with rising rents and mounting speculation that the Fed will raise interest rates over the course ... Read More
  • What’s the ‘Color to Avoid’ in 2016?

    Much excitement and fanfare always surrounds Pantone’s annual Color of the Year announcement, with eager color enthusiasts (like yours truly) ready for an early glimpse at the shade expected to rock the design world in the year ahead. But what about the shades at the other end of the design spectrum, those alarming colors that assault the senses rather than inspire creativity? Where is their day in the spotlight? Spoonflower, a custom fabric and wallpaper site and community for independent textile designers, offers a humorous antithesis to the Color of the Year with its 2016 Color to Avoid. The ... Read More
  • Starting a conversation through the clutter

    It's a recurring theme in marketing discussions today – in an age of tech-savvy consumers, an overabundance of information at our fingertips and decreasing attention spans, traditional marketing methods no longer work. The approaching New Year is the perfect time to reassess your digital marketing strategy and experiment with some new techniques. Twitter recently partnered with marketing software company Hubspot for a webinar aimed at helping businesses take their customer engagement “beyond marketing,” particularly through social media platforms like Twitter. Anne Mercogliano, head of small business marketing for Twitter, pointed out that while email was once reserved for people in ... Read More
  • Connecting with customers via the e-tail experience

    Many of the educational seminars at the fall High Point Market focused on the future of the industry, from the evolving role of designers to the next generation of consumers. One such seminar on Oct. 20, moderated by Home Accents Today Editor in Chief Jenny Heinzen York, tackled the changing ways in which retailers are using the web to sell to and engage with today’s consumers – particularly Millennials. “Millennials and E-Retailing: Connecting to America’s Largest Shopping Audience” included insights from Chairish co-founder Anna Brockway, Guildery co-founder Shane Reilly and Joybird co-founder Josh Stellin about Millennial consumer habits, e-tail ... Read More
  • The road to affluence

    According to research from marketing consulting firm Unity Marketing, affluent consumers comprise only 20% of U.S. households, but make up more than 40% of the home furnishings industry’s sales. These affluent consumers – defined in the study as the top quintile of U.S. households, with an income starting at about $100,000 annually – are incredibly valuable to the home furnishings industry. But the luxury market is about to undergo a significant shift as Millennials reach higher income levels. While many Millennials haven’t achieved affluence yet, their values and shopping habits that differ from previous generations will likely ... Read More
  • As seen on TV (and the big screen), Vol. 3

    The fall movie and TV season is upon us, which means this self-proclaimed entertainment nerd has already made multiple trips to the multiplex and saved several hours’ worth of television on my DVR. Naturally, given the amount of time I spend scouring product at Home Accents Today, I find my eyes wandering to the sleek NASA office furniture in The Martian and Viola Davis’ fabulous chandelier on How to Get Away with Murder, wondering which designers are responsible for the set décor. It’s become something of a tradition for me to find out who some of those manufacturers ... Read More
  • Retail trends of tomorrow

    The retail landscape today looks vastly different than it did even a few years ago. An increasing number of brick-and-mortar retailers are expanding into e-commerce, and e-tailers are opening physical stores. Mobile is evolving, both as a shopping tool and a means of connection between businesses and consumers. But what changes do the next few years hold? Planet Retail, which offers strategic and consultancy services to retailers across the globe, explores these ideas and more in its research report, “The Future of Retail: 10 Trends of Tomorrow.” “Retailing has undergone seismic shifts over the past five years and we believe ... Read More
  • Seven steps for successful succession planning

    Handing over the keys to a company that you started, nurtured and grew is no easy feat, but it’s critical to your business’ future success. Who will oversee operations after your retirement? How can you ensure your business strategy is sustainable going forward? What does your own future look like beyond the business? Abby Donnelly, founder of The Leadership and Legacy Group in High Point, N.C., and Gary Pittsford, president and CEO of Castle Wealth Advisors in Indianapolis, shared with Home Accents Today some of the crucial steps that have helped their clients develop successful succession plans and ... Read More
  • Are retailers finding new customers on Facebook?

    Instagram claims about 300 million monthly active users, Twitter reports 302 million monthly active users in Q1 and Facebook boasts 1.44 billion monthly active users as of March 31. Given the sheer volume of people utilizing these platforms, it’s easy to see why more and more businesses strive to connect with current and potential customers there. But are retailers actually converting any of these social media users into new customers? The short answer — yes. According to a new report from the National Retail Federation, social media is becoming an increasingly important customer acquisition channel for retailers, and they ... Read More
  • Designing for smaller-scale living

    It’s something the industry has buzzed about anecdotally for a while now – the trend of more Americans, particularly young adults, flocking to the nation’s cities. Living in smaller dwellings at the heart of urban areas brings with it the need for smaller-scale furnishings and a fresh design approach. A 2015 study by Luke J. Juday, a research and policy analyst for the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center Demographics Research Group, quantifies this phenomenon by examining demographic shifts in U.S. metropolitan areas since 1990. At the heart of Juday’s study, “The Changing Shape of American ... Read More
  • Boomers, Millennials are more similar than you think

    One group is just entering adulthood, establishing careers and starting families. The other is seeing their children leave the nest, and some are retiring. One is fast becoming an influential consumer base; the other, according to data from Nielsen, still controls about 70% of disposable income. Millennials and Baby Boomers certainly have their differences – different life stages, different experiences, different characteristics – and they appeal to marketers for different reasons. But they have their similarities, too. And while much coverage of generational dynamics pits Boomers and Millennials against one another in an “us versus them” sort of way, the two groups ... Read More