H-P Products, manufacturer of central vacuum systems, recently hosted its central vacuum dealer meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Top dealers from around the country gathered to network and hear from H-P about the state of the central vacuum market and what opportunities lie ahead. The event was filled with idea sharing, educational sessions, discussions about emerging central vacuum trends, and new dealer marketing and builder programs H-P is currently developing.
Left to right: Greg Calderone, vice president H-P Products; Clint Miller, Kevin Bennett, CJ Miller Central Vacuum; Larry Wissinger, regional manager, H-P ProductsA major topic at the meeting was the state of the homebuilding industry and home-buyer trends across different demographics, and how this is affecting sales of central vacuum systems. Since a large portion of central vacuum installations are driven by new construction, H-P cited several statistics from the Commerce Department and 2014 NAHB State of the Homebuilder Industry to paint a picture of the market for the dealers in attendance.
H-P highlighted several other positive market forces that are contributing to a resurgence in central vacuum sales. In addition to new housing starts, the company cited historically low interest rates, a looming housing shortage, increasing home values, and a large number of buyers in the pipeline. H-P vice president Greg Calderone noted that Generation X and Y (those born after 1980), make up 61 percent of current new home buyers and that cultural trends make these connected generations more likely to understand the value of central vacuum systems.
“Across all generations, we’re seeing a trend towards quick-clean convenience, which makes sense since we eat faster, communicate faster and are more connected than at any other time in history,” Calderone said. “The convenience trend correlates with a key central vacuum value proposition, so that’s a positive, but we as an industry can do a better job understanding the nuances of selling to a retired couple building their dream home versus a millennial buying his or her first home.”
To emphasize this point, H-P dedicated an entire session to generational selling and the most effective approaches when working with Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millenials. For instance, Baby Boomers are much more comfortable with a high-touch over high-tech approach and prefer face-to-face communication. Conversely, millennials are incredibly tech savvy, prefer visuals over text, and may actually avoid a business if the website is poorly executed.
“I was refreshed by H-P Products’ focus on generational demographics and how we need to consider selling to each generation differently,” said Kevin Bennett, sales and operations manager, CJ Miller Vacuum Center. “It was also encouraging to consider how the central vacuum market and the new housing market are so closely related. One area I am seeking to change internally is our own staff demographic, to bring in more employees from the Millennial generation as we prepare for an influx of customers within their age group over the next few years.”
“There’s a huge volume of young home buyers entering the market in the next five to ten years, which presents a tremendous opportunity for central vacuum dealers who understand their motivations and the new media channels they depend on every day,” Calderone said. “These are potential long-term customers who will get used to the benefits and quick-clean convenience of central vac early on and carry that later into life.”