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The year in home: Consumers focus on living well, integrating tech and sharing their spaces

Posted on  17 January 14  by 


by Nissa Hanna

In the post-holiday slowdown, dwellers are taking a much-deserved break. The we’re-hosting-this-year-and-the-house-is-showing-its-age DIYs have been admired by guests; the new furnishings are settling in; and the bar cart’s a little lighter. So now consumers finally have a moment to simply enjoy their homes before the activities, parties and projects of 2014 come knocking.

im_YearInHome2013_384298_2And to see what’s ahead, it’s necessary to get directions from the year that’s behind us. CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights’ Home Year in Review offers a look at the most important and popular content of 2013 to help you zero in on the behaviors, values and attitudes that are on the horizon. Here are just a few of the themes:

The mission to keep up with the Joneses has shifted to the mantra of quality of life. Today, consumers are trying to balance practicality and enjoyment, which means living well … within their means. And that’s playing out in the types of homes that consumers are buying: young first-time purchasers prefer a fixer-upper and plan to outfit it with smart tech, while downsizing Boomers are sacrificing the space of private rooms in favor of large multipurpose areas.

Technology in the home was a dominant issue that spanned the category’s top three most-read trend articles, which illustrate the tensions between integrating tech devices and keeping usage in check. The interest in smart home technology is on the rise thanks to more accessible price points, wider availability and enhanced performance. But some consumers are exploring their connectivity comfort zone by setting parameters around where and when devices can be used.

Interestingly, collaboration also emerged as a primary theme across dweller demographics. Older divorcées are buying or renting homes with peers; nearly self-sufficient seniors are sharing spaces; 20somethings are choosing to live with friends instead of partners; and young Bay Area entrepreneurs are rebooting the commune concept.

photo credit: Tracey & Doug,


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