Just under one-third of households (30 percent) bought lamps and lighting accessories in 2003, about equal to the purchase incidence in 2001. While lighting is an essential component of everyday life, it also serves a decorative function, with lamps being a key decorative accessory. The effects of lighting are a key element for creating a mood of peacefulness and harmony in the home. People buy lamps and lighting as much for need as desire, making them essential yet discretionary.
The lamps category is tracked along with the personal consumption of clocks and other durable furnishings by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see Figure 8.18). In 2002, the sales of lamps and lighting accessories, along with other durables, totaled $32.6 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent over sales of $31.5 billion in 2000.
% CHG '00-'02
Total Personal Consumption in millions
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
As in so many other categories of home furnishings, lamps are widely available at many different types of outlets, including discount department stores, traditional department stores, hardware stores, home furnishings stores, and specialty stores. But unlike so many other home products, the discount department stores have less of a stranglehold on sales in the category. Only 31 percent of lamp buyers reported shopping for lamps in discount stores in the past year, according to Unity Marketing's latest survey. Some 26 percent shopped at traditional department stores, while 24 percent went to furniture and home furnishings stores for these items. Rounding out the top retail sources, 22 percent turned to their local hardware store or home improvement center to buy lamps. (Please note: Shoppers could shop in different types of stores throughout the year, so percentages do not add to 100 percent.)
New lamps and lighting can change the look and feel of a room, yet often consumers buy them as part of a more extensive makeover. As seen in other home décor purchases, one purchase—say a new chair or a new rug—made to replace a worn-out item often results in a cascade of additional home purchases justified by the original purchase. Since lamps are mechanical, replacing a broken or worn-out lamp can become the driving force behind more extensive household purchases. One respondent's example illustrates this point perfectly: "All our furniture is handme-downs, but I needed new lamps for the family room. Then I needed to get new furniture there, too. It was long overdue."
Men and women participate equally in the purchase of lamps and lighting accessories for their home. The peak age for the purchase of lamps and lighting, ages 18 to 24, corresponds with the household-formation years, but purchase remains strong through age 54, then drops off sharply after age 55.
Households with incomes of $50,000 or more report the highest incidence for purchasing lamps and lighting accessories. The presence of children in the home and household size doesn't markedly impact purchase incidence of lamps and lights.
This is a gender-neutral category.
Purchase incidence rises with income, as households with incomes of $50,000 or more buy more.
Peak purchase age is 18 to 24, but remains strong through age 54.