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Paul Friederichsen is the founder of BrandBiz, a company that specializes in PR, media strategy and placement, sales incentives, training and mobile marketing as well as social media. Visit his website www.brandbizinc.com

9:40:29 AM 
Meet The Sandwich Generation

According to demographic experts, one in four U.S. households are representative of the newly coined "sandwich generation." No, this has nothing to do with McDonald's.

It has everything to do with a couple of factors: the economy and life expectancy. Thankfully, the family is still alive and well in America. It's been called the "ultimate safety net" in our society: a place where you're lucky enough to be welcomed, or at the very least accommodated, when you need a place to go.

The "Sandwich Generation" is, for now, the mid- to late-baby boomer generation (ages 57 to 47). They are "sandwiched" between caring for their parents (who are living longer than ever and can't afford the cost of managed care because their retirement nest egg was wiped out) and their children (who have a one-in-four chance of boomeranging back home because of unemployment hovering over 8%). These sandwiched households are, in most cases, forced to make do with their current housing because of the a lack-luster housing market. Moving to a larger or more accommodating home, for most people, is simply not an option. Keep in mind, the longer the economy remains sluggish and the housing market stays stagnate, the more sandwich households we'll see.

The implications for the floor covering industry are several. All facets of the industry must be sensitive to this phenomenon in order to serve the needs generated by it.

For example, carpeting provides cushioning, warmth and acoustical advantages, but many customers may be leery of it due to concerns about respiratory issues with elderly parents. Retailers can place more emphasis on regular cleaning services and carry carpets that can reduce odors and bacteria growth (see www.blissflooring.com) or flooring like LVT or sheet vinyl that also has an anti-microbial built-in, is easy to maintain and provides excellent replacement floor value.

Likewise, at the opposite end of the age spectrum, laminate and area rugs may be an excellent choice for a young adult child moving back because of its superior durability over hardwood or engineered wood. Area rugs made with modular carpet tiles allow for personalizing the space in a way that no other flooring choice can (see www.interfaceflor.com).

As any savvy retailer or manufacturer will tell you, floor covering consumers are looking for life solutions, not a new floor per se. By being sensitive to what the customer's situation and needs are, the sales associate, designer or decorator can be better equipped to recommend a flooring solution that the Sandwich Generation customer will eat right up.

Edited by Admin 4/17/2012
9:41:20 AM

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11:37:29 AM

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