Bohemia Guest Blog by Adam Meshekow
On a recent Friday night, I head up the elevator to the new rooftop bar at the Williamsburg Hotel, and I watch the younger generation taking selfies, snaps, and Instastories of themselves in their bathing suits while enjoying cocktails. As I eavesdrop to listen to the normality of young Gen Z’s talking to potential partners, I recognize a pattern. They start with an introduction, in three simple steps, to “size up” a potential right swipe.
The first question is “What is your name?” The next is “What do you do?” in the concrete jungle, followed by “Where do you live?” Where you live is not only important in popular online dating apps like Bumble; it matters when it comes to relationships and social status, too. I found this pattern to be the norm, so I decided to co-found a company that focuses on how to make access to the apartment one truly wants obtainable for Gen Z.
Leap, the newest disruptor in the rent guarantee space, hit the market in June with a revolutionary application process geared toward millennials and Generation-Z customers. Generation Z, comprising the soon-to-be largest population of first-time apartment renters, is estimated to have at home spending power worth of approximately $44 billion.
Currently, Baby Boomer at-home spending is declining by $20 billion annually and will continue to do so until 2020. We see this as an opportunity to capture the new renter in the multifamily real estate market, which is ready for disruption. We market directly to consumers focusing on Generation Z and give unprecedented apartment access to this new kind of renter.
Leap uses advanced, proprietary auto-decision Insurtech models to allow for near-instantaneous approvals, which gives this new renter “instant gratification” with respect to their most important expense in New York - their apartment. Gen Z will soon be the most important rental demographic New York has ever seen, as the largest (30 percent of all renters) and given their extremely different purchase and behavior patterns.
This new generation of consumers has different preferences and care more about the socioeconomic status of their apartment – where they live, building amenities, etc. – than past groups. Compared to the previous rental population of Boomers, Generation X, and Xennials, Gen Z exhibits massive differences in social, economic, and housing behavior, which is why Leap has entered the market as a mobile-first, near real-time rental solution.
Millennials and Gen Z tend to prefer renting to owning and cities to suburbs, focusing on maximizing their quality of life and only accepting the best types of product. This is the generation that is mobile only, “cord-nevers” (never watch cable TV), and want instant gratification with personalized product and service. At a time when supply and landlord concessions are at all-time highs, being able to tailor the product set to this new type of renter is crucial for landlords to keep occupancy rates high. Leap is dedicated to tailoring their services to the needs of these new customers, and the user-friendly platform caters to this generation’s priorities. Instant responses, the promise of independence from their parents and the use of advanced technology are just a few of the factors which draw in Generation Z.
Adam Meshekow is a digital industry veteran who has worked on all sides of the digital marketing landscape. He currently is the Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Leap. He was the former Chief Revenue Officer at SITO Mobile, where he was responsible for driving mobile advertising and messaging technology to consumer-facing businesses, advertisers and brands along with new product innovation. Prior to SITO Mobile, Adam was responsible for mobile marketing and brand management at Toys “R” Us. He currently sits on the advisory board for Kiip and SnipSnap.