The trend towards coliving, especially for Millennials and Gen Z, has continued to rise even during the pandemic. As this new living model grows, it’s important to consider what it will mean for marketers – as well as employers of Millennials an Gen Z in the workplace.
First, a definition: coliving is the most recent iteration of communal living, in which residents live in a furnished home/apartment with a shared common area (or areas). It became popular in cities before COVID-19 because it’s an affordable way for students, workers, and others (like the digital nomad you see here) to live in an area and, if they choose, move to a new area for an extended amount time.
What makes coliving so attractive is the affordability it provides to people for whom individual apartments or homes is not affordable or practical. It provides both private and public spaces, as well as additional amenities. And for those who don’t have to be in any one location, as well as young people starting out in an expensive city, it provides both privacy and an immediate sense of community.
New coliving spaces, such as Common, create the communal experience that younger people crave, with attractive living that is comparable to what some enjoyed in college or on a university campus. Public spaces can include those for working, kitchen and dining areas, or higher-end amenities such as workout rooms, spaces for programmed events, even restaurants, and bars.
Most importantly, as pointed out by investor Chip Conley in this Fast Company article, it has helped to provide a sense of community during the isolation of the pandemic. If coliving is the new trend for urban living – and, perhaps, even suburban or rural living – what does that mean for marketers and employers?
Coliving and Marketing
For marketers reaching out to Millennials and Gen Z, this might mean rethinking offers and the practicality/need of their products and services. In fact, it opens up an entirely new market for products that might have otherwise been “too expensive” for these younger generations to afford. Think about expensive kitchen equipment or sound systems – or even high-end venue purchases (such as lighting systems).
In fact, this may provide an entirely new marketing demographic for B2B marketing; products that used to be only for business venues (in restaurants, for example) may now enjoy a different market in coliving facilities.
Coliving and Millennial/Gen Z employees and lower wage workers
Similarly, the popularity and growth of coliving may offer opportunities to businesses looking to recruit and hire younger workers in areas that have become very expensive. In cities such as New York, where younger employees (and those making lower wages) often need roommates or can only afford to live in areas far outside Manhattan, coliving spaces may offer an alternative – and help to attract and retain talent.
Consider the allure of a company that “buys into” or helps fund coliving spaces so that its employees can afford to live nearby – for those one or two days they need to be in the office – or for those who need to be in daily (such as retail stores, restaurants, and other “in person” establishments).
It’s an exciting to see how the new trend towards “working from anywhere” for many digital nomads is creating new concepts about where and how to live. This not only helps alleviate the challenges of city living – this new residential model can help people deal with the challenges that come with isolation in a pandemic world.
Interested in hearing more about Millennial trends and habits? Click here to read about my conversation with a Millennial about work and current trends.