Are WINKs Impacting Door and Window Demand?

John G. Swanson
October 25, 2010
THE TALK... | Aesthetics & Style

Looking through ProSales recently, I came across an article discussing WINKs—women with incomes and no kids—an increasingly influential demographic in the new home market. As homebuyers, these women are looking for “safe urbanism.”

And one particular trend these women are driving is growing demand for a more secure, better looking door between the garage and the home. That door is getting a lot more attention as a result of these women homebuyers, according to a recent National Association of Home Builders study referenced in the article, it is now a "top feature" for new homes.  It has to be "at least as nice as the door to the bathroom and master bedroom" and as secure as the front entry door. 

Now I confess, this door trend has been underneath my radar. What about you? Have you seen it? And what about WINKs in general? Are they becoming a bigger part of your customer base? That’s our poll question of the week. And, of course, we’d like to hear from you. Email me or post a comment about WINKs and the products they want. And if you sell those doors between the home and the garage, I definitely want to hear from you.


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Survey Results as of 11/1/2010:

Are WINKs (women with income and no kids) becoming a bigger part of your customer base?

No

  

 

70%

 

Yes

  

 

30%

 

Our poll respondents don't seem to see it, but WINKs are out there.  In fact, I heard from two.

"I'm a WINK!" writes Kathy Ziprik, a building products industry PR consultant, "...and I hate the door that is between my garage and my laundry room entrance. But, that said, it was not a huge "top 10" factor when I chose this house three years ago."

What were her priorities?  "A one level home, easy-to-operate windows, low maintenance siding, flat yard (for dogs), sunroom, screened in porch and to live on a cul-de-sac," Kathy writes.

"I am a 41-year old WINK who happens to work in the construction materials industry, so I can address the topic from both sides," emailed another reader, Sheila Hancock. "This year, I purchased my first home; it’s over 40 years old and most definitely a project. Replacing the garage door was a must-do; replacing the door from the garage into the home never occurred to me."  

She has never heard about the trend to the upgraded garage-to-house doors from her distribution partners, builders or contractors, but she did replace all her windows, indicating that WINKS are important customers for our industry.  

"Our primary customer base is a couple in their fifties on the verge of empty nest, but WINKs are probably more of our business than young marrieds," reports Jerry Hartman of Gilkey Window Co. And he thinks they may have have different priorities.  He sees WINKs, for example, demanding both beauty and security it their doors.  "The door from the garage to the kitchen has been getting a lot of scrutiny from customers lately and we are selling more stained steel," he notes.  WINKs may also be influencing demand for multipoint locks, he says.

Pointing to his father–whose "picture is by the word 'tin man' in the dictionary"–Jerry notes that whether or not WINKs have unique product demands, they may require a change of mindset for some industry salespeople. "My dad would be miserable selling windows and doors today with the changing marketplace. He would never understand a single woman owning a home, unless she was an older widow. He would never understand one-legged appointments where the wife out-earns the husband and is in control of the household and will buy without her husbands approval,"  he explains. "If you treat people with respect, no matter the condition of their home, their age, race, gender, or whatever, ask questions, listen more than you talk, that is what makes a successful salesperson today."