OK, so they never really went away and suburban life has been part of the American experience for close to 80 years going back to the days right after World War II when the urban exodus began for young families.
But even as American cities continue to be vibrant lively places to live, the suburbs increasingly became identified as…well, just not cool. It’s where people went to get boring.
Then the pandemic hit and everything changed very quickly. Suddenly all those hipsters, so-called hipsters and hipster-wannabes picked up their things and headed out of town. That kind of migration was going to happen anyway as the millennial generation started to age out, begin families and look for the good schools, soccer fields and drive-thru windows that just don’t exist in urban areas.
But the speed and scale of this latest diaspora has upset the rules for all kinds of elements of society, including the retailers who sell to this demographic. The rapid shift has created a customer base unlike the stereotypes the suburbs have been known for and businesses that don’t get this are not likely to stay in business.
This is especially true for gift and home retailers who previously would have leaned towards the safe, cheap-and-cheerful clutter that has sold for generations. Now they have a younger, more savvy and more stylish customer and they want to find what they bought in the city out there in their new environs. It’s a seminal change for retail businesses and one they need to both understand and act on.
It’s not your mother’s suburbs anymore.
Award-winning Journalist & Consultant for the retailing and home furnishings industries with extensive business media experience in both fields.