If a man from 1987 stepped into a time machine and emerged in 2017, he would find the modern world fantastically different in many ways. Mobile computing means that he has the world’s information and entertainment at his literal fingertips. The cars on the road may be familiar to him, but now, he can also magically hail a car on-demand or pay ludicrously low prices to get from place to place by sharing rides with one or two other passengers. He finds malls and retail stores collapsing, with commerce transacting in wonderfully weird ways.
But the minute he steps into his home, he finds many things to be eerily the same. Houses and neighborhoods look similar. Most home furnishings, CPG products, and renovation products are still bought at specialty or big-box stores. Housing still is a household’s largest expense, and it is as hard (if not harder) than ever to afford a home.
While the internet has transformed most facets of everyday living, one of the last to be redesigned is the home.
While some important companies have been built in this area, we have yet to see the kind of tectonic shifts that are bound to come. We have great ways to find and shop for a home thanks to Trulia and Zillow, but most people still use agents on both sides of the transaction. Wayfair and Houzz are changing the way consumers find and shop for furnishings, but ecommerce is under-penetrated in this category, and the promise of VR and AR to create a step-function change here is still a little ways away.