What do millennials want from their windows?

As millennials come of age, their purchasing decisions can differ markedly to those of their parents, with more emphasis placed on matters such as sustainability. Russell Hand, head of marketing and technical at Rehau Windows, analyses what millennials want from their windows, and what that means for installers.

In contrast to stereotypes portrayed by the UK’s media, millennials are no longer children, and have long since grown up. In fact, millennials are now well into their 20s and 30s, and are therefore much more influential in the home buying and improvement market.

As such, millennials clearly represent a market segment that is growing, and cannot be ignored.

In order to better equip themselves and their window portfolio to appeal to this expanding audience, installers and fabricators need to ask a simple question: what do millennials want? Indeed, while previous homeowners may have viewed their properties as status symbols they take pride in maintaining, this newer, more socially conscious generation takes a different tack, emphasising environmental concerns and reduced upkeep requirements.

The issue of climate change has been on the news agenda for as long as millennials have been alive, and has only become more prominent as they have reached adulthood. Consequently, it is only natural that sustainability has become an increasing priority when it comes to their own homes, with a Guardian survey suggesting over two-thirds of millennials “buy as many eco-friendly products as they can”.

These findings, combined with other global studies, show that three quarters of millennials prioritise sustainability over price when purchasing, clearly identifying the need for installers to offer windows with eco-friendly credentials. Taking this into account, system houses such as Rehau have redoubled efforts around co-extrusion.

An innovative and sustainable method of producing new windows using recycled material, co-extrusion enables the processing of different PVC materials on the profile’s core and outer skin. Crucially, co-extrusion allows valuable secondary raw materials to be used as part of this process, protecting the environment without the customer paying more.

Rehau’s Total70C system, for example, is available with a co-extruded profile made up of up to 75% post-consumer waste, while still boasting severe weather performance credentials and unparalleled technical, thermal, and noise reduction efficiency.

Furthermore, the increasing pace of modern life means that millennials are busier than ever, and a permanently online, linked-up world means there are constant demands on their time. As a result of this, they do not want to spend their Sunday afternoons carrying out DIY work, such as treating timber frames.

This desire for low-maintenance solutions in the home can be seen in a study by UK utilities insurance provider Corgi HomePlan, which found that of the 2,000 under-35s they surveyed, 23% would rather engage a tradesperson than carry out DIY work themselves. Attitudes such as these offer clear opportunities to installers who can provide a portfolio of windows highly suited to this particular audience.

Specifically, by offering aesthetically appealing, durable systems that do not need constant upkeep, fitters can put themselves in a strong position with the millennial market. Due to their unique compound and smooth gloss finish, Rehau’s Total70C windows retain their pristine appearance throughout their long service life, and will never warp, rot or need painting. As such, it is possible for millennials to adopt a fit-and-forget mentality when opting for these solutions, which is a greatly appealing prospect to installers and end-users alike.

Millennials constitute almost one third of the world’s population, so it is of paramount importance the window industry pay attention to their values, desires and lifestyles. Although the marketplace is set to change dramatically as this segment and their purchasing power continues to grow, by offering eco-conscious solutions that require minimal upkeep, installers can remain ahead of the curve commercially.