OVERVIEW: HOME FURNISHING AND HOME DCOR PURCHASE INCIDENCE


OVERVIEW: HOME FURNISHING AND HOME DÉCOR PURCHASE INCIDENCE

In 2003, greeting cards and stationery were the most widely purchased category of home goods, bought by 83 percent of households (see Figure 8.1). Candles were next, with a purchase incidence of 62 percent. Christmas and seasonal decorations were the third most popular home category, bought by 61 percent of U.S. households in the previous year.

 

2000

2001

2003

Greeting cards and stationery

79%

72%

83%

Candles

54

65

62

Christmas and seasonal décor

50

55

61

Flowers, seeds, and shrubs

50

59

56

Kitchenware

46

58

56

Home textiles

51

60

52

Aromatherapy and scents

39

42

49

Picture frames

40

52

48

Baskets, boxes, and vases[*]

  

42

Vases, urns, and pots

 

30

 

Garden equipment and décor

41

47

42

Art, prints, and pictures

21

27

42

Furniture and occasional furniture

35

41

41

Florals, indoor

38

43

41

Wall décor

22

25

38

Window coverings

  

37

Collectibles

31

34

36

Lamps and lighting

24

33

30

Figurines and sculptures

19

20

22

Tabletop china, etc.

16

26

16

[*]Category expanded in 2003


Figure 8.1: Home Purchase Incidence

Some key trends in consumers' appetite for home furnishing and décor emerge when comparing the three years' survey findings on purchase incidence of 19 key home categories:

  • Stationery purchase is up, as consumers buy more paper products. Greeting cards are the most purchased product within stationery, but the entire category of stationery and paper products is gaining new attention among consumers. Over 80 percent of consumers bought any stationery and/or greeting cards in the past year, making stationery the number one most purchased home product. Consumers' desire to connect emotionally in a more meaningful way has led to increased sales of personal notes. New luxury stationery made of high fiber paper with enhanced textural values is also drawing new consumers to buy. Today the ultimate luxury form of communications is a handwritten note.

    Today the ultimate luxury form of communications is a handwritten note.

  • Seasonal decorations are a key focus for consumers. The purchase incidence of Christmas and other seasonal decorations experienced an upward shift, from 55 percent in 2001 to 61 percent in 2003. This interest in decorating the home for various holidays and events is part of the new connecting trend, which has taken hold most strongly in the post-9/11 culture. Consumers are returning to more values-based consumption and seeking to reach out and reconnect with their families, their communities, their social networks. Decorating the exterior of the home is one way that consumers are expressing this connecting trend. From the patriotic to the whimsical, consumers desire to decorate their homes and express their feelings and values externally. This is a major trend that has positive impacts for marketers and retailers of home products.

  • Consumers' interest in scent growing. While candle purchase incidence is flat, even declining slightly, consumers' interest in alternative household scenting products, such as potpourri, steamers, and sprays, is growing. With purchase incidence up from 42 percent in 2001 to 49 percent in 2003, consumers are expressing a desire to enhance the sensual environment in the home through scent. By turning away from the candle alternative, they are signaling a desire for safer, more healthful alternatives in household scenting options with concerns about indoor air pollution, open flames, burning petroleum-based waxes, and possible leaded wicks becoming more of an issue for consumers.

  • Decorating turns from the tabletop and mantle to the walls. Consumer purchases of pictures, art and prints, and wall décor show a strong upward trend in 2003 compared to previous years. Consumers are turning their attention to the walls to decorate.

  • New emphasis is placed on storage alternatives. Because the 2003 survey grouped baskets and tins along with vases and other decorative storage items, no direct comparison can be made to the previous year's survey. However, 42 percent of the consumers surveyed reported buying decorative storage items.

    Consumers are expressing a desire to enhance the sensual environment in the home through scent.

  • Downward trending categories, home textiles and tabletop china, signal anti-clutter mood. While the purchase incidence of most other categories in home were basically flat or characterized by only a point or two downward shift, two categories included in the survey point to a significant drop in purchase incidence. Home textiles, including rugs, throws, pillows, and table linens, dropped from being purchase by 60 percent of consumers in 2001 to 52 percent in 2003. This is one of those categories consumers associate with "clutter," so they are buying less of it than before. Tabletop china, crystal, silver, and other dinnerware also experienced a downward shift in purchase incidence, from 26 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2003. This is an important category for entertaining and a traditionally popular category for wedding gifts. In interpreting this downward shift it may indicate that young brides are choosing other categories for their bridal registry, as well as consumers having all the tabletop "stuff" they need for their current standard of living.

Through the rest of this chapter we will examine in more detail each of the home product categories.