Lost Lowe’s Aging in Place Opportunity

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

Errors of omission, lost opportunities, are generally more critical than errors of commission. Organizations fail or decline more frequently because of what they did not do than because of what they did. ~Russell L. Ackoff

Aging in Place

When I first heard Lowe’s was releasing a Smart Home Platform called Iris with aging in place applications I was very enthusiastic. For several reasons this made complete sense to me. First, it fit my Success Formula TNT:


The demographic transition of baby boomers aging in place, and now the caregiver baton is being passed to Millennials


AARP surveys show over 90% favor aging in place, and with the lack of informal caregiver’s technology will be playing an increasingly central role–especially for Millennials.


As Laurie Orlov has said many times the marketplace for technology to assist aging adults in the Longevity Economy is expected to grow to more than $30 billion in the next few years. And since they have invested in this technology, they must be aware of this too.

Secondly, I’ve always viewed Lowe’s as having an untapped-unfair competitive advantage over Home Depot in the area of the TITANIC aging in place market:

A. Lowe’s aesthetic is more appealing to women (who predominately are caregivers and increasingly Millennial), with more of a home-nesting feel; smaller stores, softer colors, more help

B. Lowe’s appeals more to the DIY projects person, Home Depot to the Professional (Millennials don’t have the funds of Baby boomers, so DIY is a better fit)

C. Aging Housing Stocks and Aging Homeowners inside those aging homes (Lowe’s could have capitalized on these trends–one-stop-shop for both)

Side-to-Side Analysis

Business Insider did a side-to-side analysis and for Millennials Home Depot was preferred over Lowe’s (this could have been turned around with a few strategic insights).

A TIME article by Abigail Abrams form May 21, 2018, noted there are nearly 10 million Americans between ages 18 and 34, of all different backgrounds, which have now move into the role of caregiver for a family member or friend, according to a new report by AARP.

This number is only going to increase as the Baby Boomer generation matures into old age. Given the Millennial’s ubiquitous use of technology for solving life’s challenges, their parents aging into increasingly dependent roles, housing stocks needing remodeling for accessibility and upgrades, and environmentally/socially conscious awareness, Lowe’s was in a Perfect position to capitalize on these megatrends.

In an article titled: Lowe’s Will Shut Down its Iris by Lowe’s Smart Home Platform on March 31 by Ed Oswald, the author goes into the nitty-gritty details on the anatomy of Lowe’s Iris rollout Failure. The article is interesting and a tale of lost opportunity.

Oh, what could have been…


Iris by Lowe’s

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