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Upping the ante

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, March 3, 2003

It's amazing. You never know where information concerning home textiles will pop up.

Last week's extensive "Consumer Buying Trends" study in HTT's sister publication Furniture Today produced some really interesting information in a few categories involving home textiles.

Stepping back a minute before we discuss the data, Furniture Today commissioned a survey of 50,000 households, with 31,505 households responding. Consumers were asked about how much they bought in each of 23 home furnishings categories in 2002, how much they shopped for in these categories in 2002, and how much they planned to purchase, by category, in 2003.

The relevant segments in the survey for our purpose were area rugs, decorative pillows and throws.

Looking first at area rugs, 6.1 percent of the respondents said they planned to buy a rug this year. This compared with 7.1 percent who bought one in 2002 and 10.8 percent who shopped for area rugs last year.

Among the more interesting things to emerge was that the most popular price of area rugs was between $100 and $499, with more than half of those planning to buy picking this price range.

Looking at the age brackets of the 7.1 percent who bought in 2002, the largest age group was 35- to 44-year-olds, representing 24 percent of the purchasers, and the 45- to 54-year-old age group, representing 26 percent. Looking to this year, the age groups that were dominant are the same, but the percentages were reversed.

Turning to decorative pillows and throws, 10.4 percent of the respondents shopped for these items, while 7.6 percent bought and 3.9 percent said they planned to buy this year.

The shopping budgets for just over one-quarter of the respondents are between $50 and $99; for just under one-quarter of the respondents the budgets are between $100 and $199.

Just think a bit about these numbers. What they reveal is plenty of opportunity for home textiles retailers and suppliers to enhance their products and dramatically ratchet up their marketing efforts.

Think of the dollars such efforts might produce.

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