Purchase incidence of home textiles, which includes rugs, throws, pillows, and table and bed linens, dropped sharply in 2003. While purchase incidence peaked in 2001 at 60 percent, only 52 percent of households bought this class of goods in 2003. Once one of the prime categories associated with nesting and cocooning, consumers' new anti-clutter approach to home décor is turning them off this once-vibrant category.

Industry Snapshot

In 2002, total household spending on home textiles and rugs and floor coverings was $53.9 billion, distributed as shown in Figure 8.15. This represents a modest 1.8 percent increase over 2000 industry sales of $53 billion.




% CHG '00-'02

Total Personal Consumption in millions




Total home textiles




  • Bathroom linens




  • Bedroom linens




  • Kitchen and dining room linens




  • Curtains and draperies




  • Slipcovers and decorative pillows




  • Sewing materials for home




  • Other linens




Rugs and floor coverings




Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey Diary

Figure 8.15: Home Textiles and Rugs Industry Snapshot

Changes in retail distribution of home textiles have drawn sales out of department stores. The rise of national specialty retail chains focusing exclusively on home furnishings has attracted new consumers in search of home textiles. Today, home furnishings stores generate nearly 30 percent of home textile sales.

Retail Overview

Two national chains dominate the discussion of home textiles today: Bed Bath & Beyond, a $3.7 billion group of over 500 stores headquartered in Union, New Jersey; and Linens 'n Things, with $2.2 billion in annual sales and 390 stores. Both chains are positioned along similar lines, offering a wide selection of name-brand linens and housewares at discount prices. Shopping in one store provides a déjà vu experience with the other, yet they strive futilely to achieve differentiation.

But Wal-Mart and its discount department store competitors are bringing in the really serious money in home textiles today. Wal-Mart is the nation's largest retailer of home textiles, the position it claims in almost any product category it decides to pursue seriously. Embattled Kmart has stayed afloat largely due to the phenomenal good fortune of signing Martha Stewart and her Martha Stewart Everyday home textiles line. Target continues to attract attention as the most luxurious of the discounters. In Unity Marketing's latest survey, 44 percent of home textile shoppers made purchases at discount department stores, while only 17 percent bought these products from a home furnishings specialty chain like Bed Bath & Beyond.

Another notable player in home textiles is Tuesday Morning. An off-price retailer generating $729 million, Tuesday Morning takes a novel approach to its business as a major closeout retailer of upscale home furnishings with strength in the home textile arena, gifts, and related items. Its 526 stores are all located in off-beat and decidedly nonprime locations. The stores are open only during periodic "sales events," each of which starts on a Tuesday morning, thus its name, and lasts from three to five weeks. The stores close for the months of January and July and in between sales events to stock up on new merchandise for the next big event.

Purchase Drivers

Rather than investing in major furniture pieces as they have in the past, consumers are turning to decorative accessories to change the décor of their homes. Home textiles—including rugs, throws, pillows, table linens, and curtains—offer an affordable, fun way to update the home. With the ready availability of name-brand textiles at discount prices, many consumers view new sheets, pillowcases, comforters, and duvets for their bedroom as indulgences, rather than major expenditures. "I have an addiction to decorating any room. I especially like TJ Maxx or Marshall's, where I can find a lot of really good deals. I just bought a great rug on sale at TJ Maxx. I wasn't looking for it specifically, but I saw it and had to have it," one focus group respondent told us.

Demographic Variables

Women take the lead in home textile purchases, with 58 percent of women compared to 45 percent of men reporting a household purchase in the category in 2003. All age groups through age 64 maintain a fairly strong purchase incidence, peaking among households aged 25 to 34, corresponding with the household-formation years, and those aged 45 to 54, associated with the empty-nesting period.

Except for the lowest-income households, this is a category that is widely purchased across all income levels, with the most affluent households, those making $75,000 and above, purchasing most often. Household size and presence of children in the home relates to increased purchase incidence, as larger households and those with children buy more frequently.

Key Demographics of Buyers of Home Textiles.

  • Women are prime consumers.

  • Peak buying ages for this category are 25 to 34 and 45 to 54.

  • Middle-to-upper-income households buy more, especially the most affluent.

  • Large households buy more.

  • Households with children buy more.

Why People Buy Things They Don't Need. Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior
Why People Buy Things They Dont Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior
ISBN: 0793186021
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 137

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