Blog

Millennials Change Up the Freezer Aisle (and Other Areas of CRE)

It seems that everywhere you look today, it’s almost impossible to avoid hearing or reading stories about Millennials. We have all heard about how they are making huge strides and taking the lead in business, politics, real estate, philanthropy, and more. But what you might not have heard yet is that Millennials are even shaping your grocery store.

That’s right… the grocery store.

Like the Baby Boomers in their day, Millennials are the largest proportion of any generation in the United States, and they are bringing their unique characteristics and viewpoints with them. The result? A world completely reshaped by this up and coming generation.

Just how are Millennials shaping today’s world, beginning in the freezer aisle? Read on to find out more.

Frozen foods are suddenly hot again and, believe it or not, Millennials are the ones standing behind this trend. After declining for a number of years, the freezer aisle has suddenly become a hot spot in today’s grocery stores. Everything from breakfast waffles to frozen dinner entrees are rising in popularity, even though they seem to be a far cry from trendy foods, such as kale or quinoa.

So why are Millennials flocking to the freezer aisles? Even with their particular tastes, Millennials are embracing frozen foods, which are more convenient and much less expensive than takeout or eating out, and offer portion control that is hard to match anywhere else. And, for the first time in five years, the volume of frozen foods sold is growing, with sales estimated at upwards of $53 billion (Nielsen).

So, if Millennials are having this type of impact at the grocery story, what kind of changes are they making in other historically traditional industries, such as commercial real estate?

Millennials and CRE: Making Waves

Millennials and Gen Zers are already making their mark in commercial real estate, as many segments of the industry are in need of young, fresh talent. A recent National Association of Realtors Commercial Member Profile reported the median age of a commercial real estate agent as 60 years old, prompting companies throughout the industry to seek out young professionals, including Millennials. And they’re bringing with them their ideas of work life balance, work space, and more, forcing the industry to evolve.

“We’re continuing to feel the impact of Millennials in the commercial real estate space,” says Rick Canup CCIM of Coldwell Banker Commercial Capital Advisors in Lubbock, TX. “From the technologies used at our brokerages to the way physical office space has been changed to meet demands of the younger workforce, it will behoove agents and brokers to learn more about this dynamic generation.”  

Here are 3 ways Millennials are impacting commercial real estate:

1. Working remotely

More than any generation before them, Millennials are pushing their employers to allow them to work remotely. In fact, in 2017, more than 75% of Millennials reported wanting the ability to work when and where they see fit. And not only do they desire this flexibility, they also feel that it boosts their productivity. As telecommuting technologies become better and better, remote work will become more feasible for more workers, promising to change corporate culture throughout various industries.

2. Fluency in technology

It’s no surprise that Millennials are the generation most fluent in technology to date. And, as these younger workers continue to join the ranks of other commercial real estate professionals, the industry will increasingly feel the pressure to adopt new and emerging technologies. And while the right technology can be a game changer, it’s important to make sure there is also proper training, so that no one gets left behind.

3. Redefining the workspace

When working from the office, rather than working remotely, Millennials have very different ideas for workspaces than the previous generations. Rather than closed off offices, Millennials tend to prefer open and shared spaces that allow for collaboration. And, as a result, they are forcing the CRE industry to rethink space concepts more than ever before.

As Millennials continue to make up an even larger portion of the workforce, these trends will likely continue to become more mainstream. With new commercial space ideals and the focus on technology continuing to drive the industry, CRE professionals who get ahead of the trends now will reap the rewards down the line.