Vice president of kitchen design at Samsung Minhyok Bu explains how millennials are influencing home projects, including major domestic appliances
Q: How do the wants,and aspirations of a Millennial consumer differ from previous generations?
A: Millennial consumers project their values on their consumption behaviour and only seek products they think are suited for them.
This manifests in three ways. Firstly, they want products that either tell a story or convey a message.
Even if consumers don’t necessarily agree with the message they may be attracted to the product if it seems authentic or if the worldview is meaningful.
Secondly, they want products that are versatile, that involve consumers in some way with an identity that, even though it has been created by the manufacturer, can be transformed by the consumers themselves, in their own way.
Finally, they want uniqueness — products that reflect specific needs they have and that reflect their own tastes.
In other words, the products have to be able to fit a wide range of lifestyles rather than being one-size-fits-all.
Q: What are Millennial consumers looking for in a kitchen/ kitchen appliance design? What are their priorities and what challenges does that pose to the kitchen design team at Samsung?
A: One of the major trends in kitchen design is the mindset and lifestyle of the millennial generation is reflected in their space.
We have recently studied this, trying to find what value and meaning a kitchen has to them, and what we found is that it means an open space that can be utilised for special moments in their lives.
In the spatial structure where living, kitchen and dining spaces are integrated, the kitchen is now fully exposed to everyone who is in the living room.
Therefore, it is a space where guests are invited, where we can spend time socialising.
In that sense, a kitchen needs to be a space that efficiently offers various functions for people to work, learn, and talk.
Those needs are reflected in the diverse styles of kitchens you can find in the marketplace.
Q: Millennials place value on experiences rather than material things so how through design can you encourage them to invest in kitchen appliances rather than, say, a holiday?
A: Millennials spend most of their time at home. It also happens to be where they feel the most comfortable.
For them, decorating their homes is more than just trying to impress others – rather, it’s considered a gift to oneself.
The home furnishing market is growing rapidly because millennials are investing more in their living spaces as their interest in making their home reflect their identity grows.
This trend is even affecting the design of home appliances as they are increasingly becoming a part of the interior décor.
Home appliance designs are evolving to serve as objet d’art that complements home décor, further capturing consumer lifestyles. This is also why millennials enjoy staycations.
Q: The focus in the kitchen industry has traditionally been on the baby boomer market, so how is Samsung also addressing their needs? Or is all future design focus solely on the Millennial consumer?
A: Ultimately, Samsung is aimed at understanding the true needs of consumers and satisfying a higher level of expectations and a diversity of preferences.
Through our designs, we want users to experience rich emotions, pursue better lifestyles, and to have the freedom to focus on what matters most.
We take great pride in suggesting more segmented and richer product line-ups to realise innovation that consumers really need while at the same time as we take the greatest care to ensure that we satisfy what they are looking for aesthetically.
Millennials are very influential in our industry and their buying power is only increasing
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