Insights Looking to Co-living’s future

To succeed post-COVID, co-living projects must embrace more than just cleaning protocols

It’s a good time to rethink co-living. Earlier this year, we studied the personas and behavioural trends driving the co-living market in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as consumer perceptions towards the existing brands in the market. We found interesting gaps — and opportunities to create an adaptable, “living” product suited to these flexible times.

We discovered that while co-living has a generally young image, the co-living market is far from homogeneous. Residents have a range of priorities: from a sense of community to safety, to networking. And that while co-living has been largely focused on young professionals since its inception, there’s space to create a product with much wider appeal. 

Thinking beyond young and single people

There were few conversations from young couples with regard to their needs, which means that the current co-living offering, both in terms of consumer perception and property configuration does not offer a product that matches their expectations. The solutions may be simpler than we think: larger bedrooms and more privacy are a potential area for brands to differentiate.

With an audience increasingly seeking access to convenience and experience rather than home ownership, there emerges a clear need to rethink configurations to appeal to the varying needs of end-users. For women, this might mean a “female-friendly” space. For remote workers this might mean private studies or sound-proofed meeting rooms that provide layered privacy.

Growing appeal: Co-living and co-working while staying connected

With social isolation through lockdown, more people are finding connection and community key to leading healthy, happy lives. Co-living allows its residents a leasing and lifestyle flexibility that may be exactly what workers in the gig economy need. And experts are optimistic about the co-living sector, especially for cities in Greater China and Asia.

There are clear indications that the co-living product is ready for an update, and that some shifts in behaviour may outlast the public health crisis. Co-living brands have an opportunity to improve resident experience by shifting from a focus on meeting hygiene and safety protocols to a more nuanced approach that recognises differences in customer expectations, and configuring their properties to create an impact now, and into the future.

Like to learn more? Reach out to us here for our report, Co-Living in Focus: What Residents Really Look For.

About the Report

We drew from over 20,000 social conversations across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Sina Weibo, Reddit, Pinterest, YouTube, and others, capturing the sentiments of residents in Hong Kong and Singapore towards major co-living providers Weave, Oootopia, The Nate, Hmlet, lyf, Cove, 85 Soho, and Crib.

Our study highlights the key considerations, gaps and priorities for the major consumer co-living audiences in Singapore and Hong Kong. We believe these insights also apply to other Asian markets with similar socio-economic and demographic characteristics.