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NPD identifies bright spots in home textiles

Millennials flexing their muscle

Port Washington, N.Y. - Kitchen and table linens showed the best growth among home textiles for the 12 months ended in July 2012, according to the NPD Group, which surveys thousands of consumers each month about their shopping habits.
Kitchen and table linens experienced a 1% increase in unit sales and nearly at 10% increase in dollar volume - primarily thanks to higher retail prices.
The average selling price of home textiles items was up overall during the period, but with the exception of kitchen and table, unit sales were down, keeping industry dollars flat. In bedding, for example, dollar volume showed a slight increase even though unit volume fell 9%.
"In general, consumers are putting less focus on bedrooms and more emphasis on entertaining spaces, and smaller updates," said Debra Mednick, executive director of The NPD Group's home business. "Decorative pieces, like bed pillows, pillow shams, bath accessories, and cloth napkins, are showing the most growth, indicating a desire to revitalize the look of their homes with items that have flexibility, without killing their wallets. This trend carries over to where consumers are shopping, with the warehouse club channel's increases in dollar sales."
NPD Group identified price, appearance, and material/texture as the top home textiles purchase motivators, but each of those took a slight dip compared to last year. Rising in importance as sales drivers are matching other items owned and eco-friendly attributes.
Consumers, ages 18-34, increased their home textile spending by 3.5% in the 12-month survey period, with 10% of those dollars directed toward online purchases.
Dollar sales of home textiles purchased for use at places like college or sleep away camp saw strong double-digit growth, with a different kind of focus on the bath than last year.
"The younger generation clearly has a voice, and they are not only using it, but they are getting louder," said Mednick. "Difficult to ignore, and important to capture, Millennials are a savvy group of consumers that pose challenges to the marketplace because they are going through various life stage changes, but they also offer opportunity capture them for the long haul."


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