While we (the writers and readers of blogs like ZNF) tend to think the universe of consumer electronics revolves around us, the truth is big brands are after a much larger and more lucrative market: the soccer mom and her family. Hence the new trend toward lifestyle marketing. Apple stores sell a “digital experience;” Comcast has created an “electronics spa” in a retail experiment with Circuit City; Sony Style stores have popped up all over the US.
This is a real shift in approach: the idea of architecting a digital home instead of selling gadgets. And at a Sony Style store over the weekend, I was somewhat amazed at how many dads, moms and tots were being drawn in by the lifestyle lure.
Here are a few stats from The NPD Group to consider:
- Women are a growth market for consumer electronics. The rate of spending on CE by women increased 18% from 2004 to 2005 to a total of $49.3 billion, or 46% of total CE purchases.
- Women spend more than men on home improvement. And my bet is that CE installations will start to fall into that category.
- Finally, consumers are spending more money on products for the home overall, and that includes gift giving during the lucrative holiday season.
The more that gadgets become part of the home or part of a lifestyle, the more they appeal to a wider and, let’s admit it, female audience. Therefore, expect to see more CE stores with fireplaces…
…and more of the Pottery Barn look…
…not to mention more pretty colors.
There are also huge implications for the CEDIA market going forward. After all, someone’s got to put all those digital homes together.