Is the garage having its moment?

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends

  • Date:

    February 19, 2018

Is the garage having its moment?

Industry Trends

The garage is on the rise. In fact, of all single-family homes completed in 2016, 63 percent included a two-car garage, and nearly one-quarter of all new homes included a garage for three or more cars (National Association of Home Builders).

But is the garage having its moment, or is it here for the long haul?

Here are some things to consider.

Many factors contributed to the explosion of the garage.

Sure, our love for cars plays a starring role, but it’s bigger than that. It’s our motorcycles and ATVs and golf carts — all vehicles connected to popular hobbies. It’s the DIY movement that’s got every second or third guy staining wood for a fixer-upper project or ducking under the hood or chassis of the family cars on a Saturday afternoon. 

It’s also our eternal yearning for a so-called man cave — a place where we can relax and escape the constraints and pressures of everyday life and maybe even still do something productive. Where we can hang a piece of sheet metal from an old race car without having to discuss its design merits with the other members of the household.

I remodeled our bathroom and am currently remodeling the floors of our home, so I spend a lot of time in my garage while my wife, two daughters and dog hang back in the house. Some homeowners take the concept of the man cave a little further, furnishing their garage with a worn but comfortable couch (maybe it used to be in the family room), a TV and a fully stocked fridge. 

These days, smart organization and storage products also make the garage a more functional, fun space.   

Garages aren’t just becoming more common — they’re getting larger. 

Three-car garages used to be a rare luxury, while today they’re proliferating to the extent that they’re almost expected at some home price points. But why?

The easy answer? More multigenerational households and households with licensed teens — both scenarios create the potential for more drivers under one roof. But it doesn’t stop there. 

Today, the hobbies we love make it difficult to squeak by with a run-of-the-mill, 20-by-20 cube. We need room for our lawn mowers or bikes or even the golf cart we use to take the family out for burgers on a warm summer night. If we want a car lift, we need a higher ceiling, too. 

The garage is a golden opportunity for homeowners to make a statement.

We’re spending so much time in the garage that we don’t want it to feel like a dungeon — that cold, cement block room with dark oil stains shining under a single fluorescent lightbulb suspended from the ceiling. That’s why many homeowners want extra insulation on the door for cold days or space for a quick game of table tennis with the kids or warm lighting for long hours of automotive work. Some owners spring for vintage pendant lighting like in old mechanics’ shops. I’ve seen garages with chandeliers.

Even something as functional as storage solutions, such as custom toolboxes, can be a chance to turn the garage up a notch. One interior cabinetry manufacturer realized this opportunity early on and harnessed a small but hungry niche market for expensive, attractive, fully integrated garage cabinets. 

On the outside, the fine details can transform a front-load garage into instant curb appeal. Decorative moldings, windows and even windows with stained glass reinvent the notion of the garage as just a garage.   

Brand marketers have a unique chance to capitalize.

Without question, the garage presents a unique opportunity for brands with the right tools to capitalize.

Whether you build the garage or the products that live inside it, think about creative ways to engage your audience base. Our client WIX Filters once ran a Geek My Garage sweepstakes, for which the company donated products like storage units to help homeowners transform their garage space. The contest was a tremendous merchandising opportunity for WIX. 

It's also important to pick the right partners. Do you work for a homebuilder? If so, do you have the opportunity to team up with an auto parts manufacturer or retailer? Can you partner with a local business to run your own contest? 

Above all, find your sweet spot. Remember, the garage is almost a sacred space for a good chunk of your target audience. It’s an emotional, personal space, meaning products or marketing efforts are more likely to fall flat or miss the mark if they aren’t carefully calculated.

At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that the rise of the garage is more than just a fleeting trend. With smart product development and clever marketing, your brand can do far more than tag along for the ride.