SOURCE: Moen Incorporated

Moen Incorporated

October 28, 2014 06:05 ET

Moen Watch 2015 - Day 2: A Daily Look at Research Shaping 2015 Consumer Behavior Trends

Urban Uprising: Small Spaces in Smaller Places

NORTH OLMSTED, OH--(Marketwired - Oct 28, 2014) - Consumers across the U.S. are finding allure with city living... and the numbers back it up. Since the recession, city growth has outpaced suburban growth. According to the Census Bureau, the population of urban core counties in the U.S. grew approximately 2.7 percent, while outlying counties grew approximately 1.9 percent from 2010-20131.

And these days, that doesn't mean packing up and relocating to one of the biggest three: New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago. Rather, the lifestyle choice to move to an urban environment now transcends mega cities, with consumers seeking the conveniences and atmosphere of downtown living...just on a lighter scale.

The downtown populations in smaller cities, those with between 100,000-250,000 occupants, like Midland, Texas; Fargo, North Dakota; and Jacksonville, North Carolina; have all shown significant growth in recent years. These populations are up nearly 14 percent since 2000, more than twice that of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago2.

The latest Census figures show that post-recession America is behaving more and more urban, with U.S. cities exhibiting surprising growth rates fueled by two main segments: Gen Yers who are coming of age and the Baby Boomers who are retiring3. Locations with strong energy sectors, retirement destinations and higher education are most appealing.

"There are many homeowners looking for a metropolitan makeover; however, not as many are excited by the hustle and bustle -- and size -- found in the larger cities in the country," explains Jack Suvak, senior director of consumer and market insights, Moen. "Instead, their comfort level lies in not-so-big cities -- like Midland, Texas or Fargo, N.D. -- which offer the conveniences and experience-based living similar to cities that are much bigger in size."

Many of these smaller, but growing, urban environments tend to be established, inland cities that are undergoing transitions, but rely on government jobs to sustain the local economy during these shifts4. From Glendale, Arizona, to Sacramento, California and Lafayette, Indiana, these locales are more affordable, which is attractive to young adults and retirees, alike. Many residents are single or coupled with no children; and a high proportion are renters5.

Regardless of a cosmopolitan setting's size, its inhabitants are looking to take advantage of small-space, compact living, which is being promoted more and more as offering both style and utility for today's metropolitan homeowner. And although metro dwellers will forfeit space (i.e. square footage) to live the city life, they aren't willing to sacrifice style and design throughout their homes.

"With such a focus on 'quality' instead of 'quantity,' the smaller space house makes the finer things in life more affordable, accessible and 'right-sized,' proving that bigger isn't always better," adds Suvak. "Downsized spaces are now being marketed as both luxury rentals and a stylish first step onto the property ladder. And while these micro units are found in both big and small cities alike, they're a much more affordable and realistic option outside of cost-prohibitive milieus such as New York City or San Francisco."

And what's one of the most desired amenities on many homeowners' lists, if not space? Proximity. Walkable urban centers are attractive to both Gen Yers and Baby Boomers, with two-thirds of Gen Yers wishing to live in walkable places and town centers. Of that group, one third will pay more for walkability and half will trade space for it6.

"What it means to live in a 'city' is changing," concludes Suvak. "Today's urban dwellers no longer feel the pressure to live in the country's largest markets to create the life they desire. Instead, they're excited to be able to achieve similar experiences and take advantage of those conveniences where and how they choose."

For more information about consumer behavior trends from Moen, visit moen.com.

About Moen
As the #1 faucet brand in North America, Moen offers a diverse selection of thoughtfully designed kitchen and bath faucets, showerheads, accessories, bath safety products and kitchen sinks for residential applications -- each delivering the best possible combination of meaningful innovation, useful features, on-trend styling and lasting value. In addition, Moen® Commercial offers superior-performing products that deliver lower lifetime costs for today's facilities.

Moen is part of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. (NYSE: FBHS), which creates products and services that help fulfill the dreams of homeowners and help people feel more secure. The Company's trusted brands include Moen® faucets, Master Lock® and Sentry® Safe security products, MasterBrand® cabinets and Therma-Tru® entry door systems. Fortune Brands holds market leadership positions in all of its segments. Fortune Brands is part of the S&P MidCap 400 Index. For more information, please visit www.FBHS.com.

1 "See ya, suburbs: More want to live in the big city," USA Today, May 2014
2 "America's Fastest-Growing Small Cities," Forbes, 9/3/14
3 "Census Bureau charts urban boom: secrets of America's fastest-growing cities", Christian Science Monitor, May 2014
4 A Tale of 2000 Cities: How the sharp contrast between successful and struggling communities is reshaping America 2014, Demand Institute
5 A Tale of 2000 Cities: How the sharp contrast between successful and struggling communities is reshaping America 2014, Demand Institute
6 RCLCO

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