NPD: In Textiles, Consumers Focus on Smaller Updates
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.-While the average selling price of home textiles items is up, unit sales in all segments are down, keeping industry dollars flat, according to a home fashion trends report from The NPD Group.
The one exception in the 12 months ending July 2012 was kitchen and dining, which showed a 1 percent unit sales increase and nearly a 10 percent dollar increase, NPD said. Thanks to higher average selling prices, the bedding segment managed a slight increase in dollar sales despite a 9 percent unit decline.
Price, appearance, and material/texture are still the top home textiles purchase motivators, but each of those took a slight dip compared to last year, according to the report. Other purchase motivators, such as the desire to match other items owned and eco-friendly choices, have grown in importance consistently over the past few years.
"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 [consumer] 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."
The NPD report also highlighted the purchasing practices of younger consumers. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 increased their home textile spending by 3.5 percent in the 12 months ending July 2012, with 10 percent of those dollars coming from online purchases. Dollar sales of home textiles products purchased for use at places like college or sleep away camp are seeing strong double-digit growth.
"The younger generation clearly has a voice, and they are not only using it, but they are getting louder," Mednick said. "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 to capture them for the long haul."