12/15/2020

Home as a Polymorph

Jean-Guillaume Paumier
0 min read

Home is much more than an entertainment hub. It has become a polymorphic space where we work, dine, play, get healthy and replicate outside world experiences. Pandemic confinement accelerated this pre-existing trend, and the home is now under pressure to become the primary – and for many, the only – venue for life’s various activities: work, learning, downtime, shopping, fitness, dining, rest, childcare, socialising, creativity, romance, and cultural nourishment. With the constant need for economical accommodation, particularly in cities, the home has to multitask and be more efficient with space than ever before.

Working from home is not a new phenomenon. In 2019, about 27 million Americans[i] and 13 million Europeans[ii] were already working remotely. However, the mass work-from-home experiment due to stay-at-home orders is making it a reality for millions more for the first time, and many companies have been forced to adapt to agile working almost overnight. What does this mean for the future of work? As cloud computing and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams have enabled many of us to work from home fairly seamlessly, the needs to occupy large costly office space in city centres and business travel are likely to come under scrutiny. After working from home for months, employees will expect flexible working arrangements with the option to work from home and minimise commuting.

Home is also a place to pamper, and we expect beauty and care services performed at home to become a fast-growing category. With the rise of platform-based services such as blow LTD and Urban, there is no need to leave home for a haircut, a massage or a manicure. Beauty specialists will come directly to you. While such companies have not reached mass market levels yet, their platform models enable them to better understand their clients' individual wellness needs over time. Consequently, they will probably gain a competitive edge over independent or single-service salons to provide personalised beauty services to consumers.

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In other cases, we also see that home is a place to educate, nurture and grow as home schooling and online classes take on new significance in our daily lives during lockdown.

Physical health is the most oft-quoted driver of people’s sense of health and wellbeing, and the home is increasingly turning into a place to exercise and heal. Peloton, the fitness company offering gym hardware and online workout classes, more than tripled its number of subscribers over the last two years. The integration of live streaming and social elements has led to rapid developments in replicating the gym experience in the home, from yoga instructors moving their classes online to Joe Wicks, a YouTube fitness instructor dubbed UK’s Physical Education Teacher for leading daily classes for kids to stay in shape at home.

 
 

We anticipate technology will play an increasingly important role in supporting healthcare systems. For instance, medical teleconsultations could help populations with limited mobility such as senior citizens or populations that live in medical deserts to talk more regularly with healthcare professionals from the comfort of their homes.

People are also keen to have proper dining experiences at home. The worldwide popularity of food delivery services is skyrocketing as illustrated by the market capitalisation of the leader in this space, China’s Meituan Dianping, recently passing the $100B milestone. In a slightly dystopian way, consumers can now get home delivered meals from restaurants where they will never be able to dine in person (a.k.a. ghost kitchens) or from menus they will never find in actual restaurants (a.k.a. virtual brands). Additionally, with the growing interest in cooking, platforms such as Gousto use artificial intelligence to propose bespoke recipe recommendations for which users can order only the necessary ingredients.

The role of home is expanding as we bring in more activities. The objects and services brands will offer will need to deliver agility, multi-functionality and personalisation to provide lasting value. Brands that recognise this polymorphic nature of homes and design smart solutions to make the most of indoor spaces are likely to perform better in the years to come.

This article is excerpted from the new Vizeum report Future of Home. Download it now for key insights on the trends shaping the home revolution.

Jean-Guillaume Paumier

Global Digital Partner

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