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The building industry has bounced from an all-time high in the early 2000s to the rock bottom in 2007-2009. There is light at the end of the tunnel though!

In the past 5 years, we have witnessed a floundering building industry rise from the ashes. The recovery is partly due to the influx of millennials – as both buyers and employees. Equally important, baby boomers have helped to slim-down and restructure the industry.

Let's examine exactly how baby boomers & millennials are changing the building industry.

Baby Boomers' Influence

Let’s start with how baby boomers have impacted the marketplace.

As employees, they did what they knew best – they knuckled down and pushed through. Whether in manufacturing, distribution, or as builders and contractors, industry leaders emerged. They cut costs, and developed leaner versions of their companies. The harsh reality included eliminating top-heavy payroll with some companies cutting corporate positions and spending by half. They streamlined product lines and improved distribution channels and learned how to make do with less.

What they did next was to embrace the millennial workforce. By learning how to capitalize on the strengths of the younger generation, experienced employees were able to increase innovation and shore up the marketplace.

Learning how to work with and best utilize millennials in the building industry was only part of the story. How younger generations view homes and building products, in general, is quite different from baby boomers. Figuring out new and innovative ways to capitalize on their market share was essential. By embracing green building initiatives, smaller homes and technology, the more experienced workforce was able to thrive.

Millennials' Influence

What millennials want in employment and consumption appears to greatly differ from previous generations, at first glance. Looking deeper, their methods and needs may vary, but both groups deeply know what they want. Both baby boomers and millennials are more than willing to work for it. They problem-solve differently and the definition of hard work may have been updated, but you can't claim either group exclusively works the “right” way.

The millennial generation places more importance on working to live. This differing outlook benefits baby boomers – the building industry is putting even more focus on efficiency and quality. Millennials don't want to work 80 hours a week and they want to play even harder than they work. This injects fun and advances in technology into the building industry. We are seeing more dual-purpose products and brand new building materials come out all the time.

As consumers, millennials are staying at home longer than ever. They focus more on quality and less on quantity or having “things”. They are one of the driving forces behind the tiny house explosion and a focus on green and sustainable building products.

Better Together

Fortunately, when these two groups come together and meld their ideology, a leaner industry has developed. The building industry is putting more focus on quality and service with a strong drive for even more efficiency. Technology in the building industry will continue to grow and be refined.

As consumers, both want longer lasting, cost-effective building products. Green Building continues to grow as well as remodeling leading over new building – you see the work of both groups. Baby boomers look to downsize and millennials aren't in a hurry to move out. Those younger people who are buying, look for smaller homes with sustainable products. Baby boomers want to upgrade the homes they love with high-end products and are jumping on eco-friendly products as well.

Together, each group is revolutionizing the building industry at both ends. They have diverse lives and solve problems differently, but baby boomers and millennials are positively changing the building products industry for the better – together.

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Rikka’s articles appear in trade magazines like LBM Journal, ProSales, Remodeling, and more.



Rikka’s advice has been featured on Fast Company, NFIB, AmEx Open Forum, CBS Small Business Pulse, Huffington Post, and more.



Rikka is selected to speak at local, regional, and national conferences like KBIS and ProDealer Summit.