- Lowe’s is launching Liveable Homes, an initiative to provide products, services and expertise to help senior citizens at home.
- It is trying to tap into the Baby Boomer generation, the second largest age demographic in the country.
- Other retailers like Best Buy have sought to attract seniors with products like easy-to-use cell phones and emergency alert systems.
Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison struggles to find the items he needs to allow his father’s home to age safely.
That disappointing discovery from nearly two years ago inspired the home improvement retailer’s latest initiative. It announced plans on Wednesday to become a “one-stop shop” for supplies for seniors, such as grab bars for showers, nonslip floors, wheelchair ramps and walk-in bathtubs.
“Even as the CEO of a home improvement company, those things were extremely difficult to accomplish,” he said in an interview with CNBC. “It dawned on me that if my dad is facing these issues and I’m the CEO of a home improvement company, the greater baby boomer population and caregivers must be having the same problems.”
Lowe’s said it will offer a wide variety of finished products, services and expertise to older customers in collaboration with the nonprofit AARP. The new effort is called Habitable Home. this is Launched a dedicated website of articles and videos Focused on age friendly design. AARP will also train Lowe’s employees and add signs in select stores next year.
The retailer said in-store enhancements are taking place at about 500 stores in 50 metro areas. Lowe’s employees with special training will wear an AARP-branded badge that identifies them to customers looking for age-appropriate merchandise.
Lowe’s is trying to tap the aging generation as an opportunity for growth. According to the US Census Bureau and the Pew Research Center, baby boomers, aged between 56 and 74, are the nation’s second largest age demographic after millennials.
Ellison said the market represents about $32 million in sales and is very fragmented.
Other retailers also see that demographic as a lucrative customer base. Best Buy has acquired companies that support remote patient monitoring and telehealth. It owns Greatcall, a company that makes easy-to-use cell phones and wearables for aging adults, along with emergency response services that support when someone presses a button.
Brian Yarbrough, retail analyst at Edwards Jones, said that coupled with AARP could help Lowe’s gain credibility and attract new customers. He said the pandemic may have intensified people’s desire to stay at home instead of going to nursing homes or assisted living facilities, as they were hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak and deaths.
“With all your issues in nursing homes during a pandemic, that may cause some individuals to decide to stay in their homes and then they will need these kinds of items,” he said.
It may also give Lowe’s a way to stand out from the pack.
“It shows that they are really thinking outside the box and doing things differently and not just chasing Home Depot,” he said.