Upcoming Events: Nov 5-7, 2024 Pasadena CA • April 15-17, 2025 Orlando FL

The New Wave of Home Shoppers

Key Takeaways

  • In order to captivate Gen Z customers, builders and property managers need to fully understand and accommodate their needs.
  • Gen Z expects cutting-edge technology, seamless connectivity, and personalization in their living spaces.
  • Homes must provide customizable tech solutions, fast and reliable internet, and environmentally friendly practices to meet expectations.

As the housing market continues to evolve, it is important to pay attention to new demographics and learn effective marketing strategies. Gen Z, the fastest-growing homebuyer demographic, is currently a key focus for builders and property managers, as they learn to market their homes effectively to this tech-savvy generation and remain at the forefront of the market. To meet Gen Z’s expectations, builders must understand technology’s role in providing seamless connectivity and sustainability, among other smart home features.

This seminar showcased insights from leading industry experts as they discussed the distinctive traits and preferences of Gen Z. The panel features industry experts like Kate Cameron from Kenect, Kristine Hedlund from COX, Ryan Wilder from Nice, and Dean Martin from Pacific Partners Res., who answer the question, “What does Gen Z want and expect in multifamily technology?”

Understanding Gen Z

Generation Z, represents roughly 69 million individuals born between 1997 and 2012. As they enter the workforce and seek housing, this generation looks for homes that cater to their digital and technological lifestyles. Their unique preferences show the need for different marketing strategies and this world of constant connectivity has influenced their home expectations, especially in terms of smart home technologies.

Gen Z has some of the most unique preferences when it comes to tech. This generation is a notable early adopter of modern technology, with a study from the Consumer Technology Association showing that 86% consider technology essential to their lives. Unlike previous generations, who are often wary of new technology, Gen Z embraces it, highlighting tech features as a critical factor in their decision-making process. When compared to other generations, Gen Z has become the most likely to invest in new technology as well as embrace subscription-based service models. Sustainability also plays a key role for many members of Gen Z, as well as streaming and gaming.

Gen Z’s comfort with new technology means they are not deterred by a potential learning curve, unlike previous generations, who might have been driven away due to the complexity of certain systems on the market. For property developers and managers, this insight is crucial because properties lacking advanced technological features will struggle to attract Gen Z buyers. This need for smart technology has become more than just a trend, but an expectation.

Connecting With Gen Z

A common misconception about Gen Z is that they are overly dependent on technology; however, the truth is that Gen Z has fully integrated technology into their daily lives, using it as a tool to enhance their experiences rather than escape. They value genuine connections and personalized experiences, which can be facilitated using technology. It’s also important to keep in mind that Gen Z members are highly individualistic and have different interests and values. Gen Z values personalization, expecting brands and services to match their lifestyle.

To effectively communicate with Gen Z, builders and property owners must focus on strategies that resonate with the buyer’s individualistic, tech-based nature. The best way to connect with the gen Z audience is through social media. This is an easy way to grab their attention, especially when the posts or advertisements are cutting edge and stand out amongst other companies marketing.

Companies must move beyond traditional platforms and create unique, authentic content that stands out. Gen Z prefers genuine interactions over overt marketing, making influencer marketing particularly effective. Innovative and interactive content is key, because of its ability to capture an audience’s attention.

Another effective strategy when catering to specific demographics would be hosting social events within communities that encourage networking by leveraging technology. This can help create genuine connections that create experiences to bring people together. Another strategy could be implementing an app-based membership platform that assists with paying bills, invoices, and events. To foster a community where Gen Z feels valued and engaged, it’s important to provide user-friendly, customizable tech solutions that enable meaningful interactions.

Utilizing Characteristics of Gen Z in Your Space

Engaging with Gen Z requires a personalized approach that recognizes their individual and unique preferences. Builders and property managers should focus on creating environments that buyers can resonate with.

Kate Cameron from Kenect explained, “I try to ask them questions because if you integrate something that they are interested in, they will speak up and talk about it, but if you try to do an old-school sales process with them, they don’t care. They aren’t going to vibe with it.”

Being tech-savvy isn’t the only characteristic that makes Gen Z unique. As digital natives, they expect instant access to information and seamless communication. Due to their sense of individualism and desire for personalization, they seek experiences that are tailored to their needs. They also prefer eco-friendly practices and businesses that support environmental and social causes, which reflects their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Understanding these traits allows builders to create spaces that blend private and communal areas with advanced technology and amenities, meeting Gen Z’s expectations and enhancing their living experience.

Emphasizing the Right Technology

What Tech needs to be Emphasized?

To attract Gen Z buyers, builders need to prioritize the integration of the best technology into residential spaces. High-speed internet is essential for this generation, providing options for streaming, gaming, coursework, remote work, and various other situations. Christine Hedland from Cox Communities emphasized the importance of fast internet, noting how her company delivers gigabit speeds to homes:

“Overall technology speed, especially internet speed, is key to them. We were delivering a gig to homes, and now we’re up to two gigs for residents, with five gig and ten gig on the horizon.”

Smart Home Features

Gen Z homebuyers are attracted to smart home features that provide customization, convenience, and control, as seen in smart lighting, thermostats, and security systems. Ryan Wilder from Nice discussed the value of allowing residents to personalize their living spaces through integrated technology, providing modern amenities that enhance the overall living experience and meet Gen Z’s expectations.

“We do a lot of clubhouses and common areas where we’re outfitting them for entertainment, home theaters, and we’re able to control that through one single app, as well as checking the door’s lock, smart thermostats, and cameras.”

Future Proofing

Future-proofing properties with flexible integration platforms allows homes to meet the evolving demands of Gen Z customers by adding new technology. Futureproofing helps homeowners stay ahead in a competitive market. Dean Martin from Pacific Partners Residential emphasized the importance of investing in open platforms to accommodate future technological advancements:

“When I think of smart apartment technology, I don’t think of devices, but the software and the open platform to add current products and all the future ones we aren’t thinking about yet, or at all.”

 

Watch our discussion on “Attracting Gen Z Residents with Tech” here

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