When it comes to marketing new products, millennials aged18 to 34 are here and now as well as the future. That’s precisely why it’s wise to start building a relationship with them, and that’s exactly what GE hopes to do with the introduction of a brand new line of appliances designed by a millennial for millennials.
Already the focus of great debate, the generation sandwiched between X and Z still perceives homeownership as a good investment, even after experiencing the housing bust. Currently their interest in buying a home is fueled by a combination of rising rental costs and extremely affordable mortgage interest rates.
With an eye on the future, GE Appliances tripled its investment in design over the last two years. The first unique design to be released by GE focuses on simplicity, creating an entirely new aesthetic at an affordable price for younger consumers, especially first-time home buyers.
Millennials comprise a significant number of first-time home buyers. In fact, according to Redfin research, home buyers in the 25- to-34-year-old age group make up the largest portion of all home buyers.
The introduction of the GE Artistry™ Series demonstrates how GE's designers focused on the needs of today's generation of Millennials and their desire to uniquely express themselves. Created by a 27-year-old GE industrial designer with his own generation in mind, the Artistry Series provides first-time home buyers with a distinctive and cool appearance at a price they can afford. This new line of stylishly sensible kitchen products includes five appliances: a gas range, electric range, bottom-freezer refrigerator, over-the-range microwave and top-control dishwasher.
“These buyers are price conscious and design savvy, but also want appliances from a brand they trust,” Director of GE's Industrial Design Operation Lou Lenzi said. “In today's marketplace, affordable appliances tend to look the same. GE’s Artistry Series fills that void for consumers by offering unique-looking products not currently sold by other manufacturers.”
Most appliances in this segment of the market have similar features that consumers use every day, and the Artistry Series offers these, as well as a design aesthetic that will stand out.
“Investing in the design of these appliances was a top priority for our team,” Lenzi said. “After much research, Tomas DeLuna, industrial designer for GE Appliances' Concept and Brand team, was tapped to lead the development of the Artistry Series. The look needed to be simple and approachable with very clean lines. DeLuna's design sensibilities made him an ideal fit to lead the project.”
DeLuna took the opportunity to design for his own generation by focusing on touch points that mattered to him, in areas where consumers interact most with the product—handles, knobs and clocks.
“Making the critical consumer touch points metallic, and set against either a pure, white gloss or black gloss finish, creates a look that is both familiar to our consumers, yet remains fresh and modern,” he said. “That’s what makes the GE Artistry Series special. The design is authentic and contemporary with a nod to the past not currently offered in the marketplace.”
The GE logo, visible as a badge on the appliances, also reflects this philosophy. The GE monogram with the words “General” and “Electric” recalls the product badges of the past, yet the juxtaposition of chrome and high-gloss color evokes the core, contemporary Artistry design principles.
Both the new dishwasher and refrigerator are ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliances. The bottom-freezer refrigerator costs $49 to operate annually.
With the hopes of making Millennials “customers for life,” the full GE Artistry Series will be available in September 2013. Estimated retail price of the full GE Artistry product suite is $2,416.*
*Retailers set their own prices. Estimated retail pricing per appliance is as follows: bottom-freezer refrigerator, $1099; top-control dishwasher, $499; over-the-range microwave, $219; gas range and electric range, $599.