SOURCE: Unity Marketing

February 16, 2009 18:01 ET

New Unity Marketing Research Study of the Tabletop Market Offers Marketers and Retailers Creative Ideas to Build Sales in a Down Market

A Study of the Purchase Behavior, Motivations and Mindset of Tabletop Consumers Reveals Marketing Opportunities That Will Turn Lookers Into Buyers

STEVENS, PA--(Marketwire - February 16, 2009) - Marketers of tabletop -- those items people use to dine and set their tables -- have experienced a topsy-turvy ride over the past two years. The consumer market for tableware and tabletop goods grew 6.4 percent from 2006 to 2007 only to decline by 4.2 percent in 2008 as significantly fewer consumers made any tabletop purchases. This is according to a new study of the tabletop market published by Unity Marketing.

This new study highlights tabletop marketers' need to focus their efforts on the items that customers desire the most. Hint: in the midst of the economic downturn, consumers want to see a bright spot on their table each day.

Tracking the shifts in the tabletop market

The percentage of Americans who bought tabletop in 2008 as compared to those who made purchases in 2006 dropped sharply, according to a new survey of 1,165 who recently purchased any tabletop products, including dinnerware, glassware and crystal, flatware, servingware, tabletop decorative accessories, giftware and collectibles and other tabletop goods, such as linen.

The total market for dinnerware declined by 14 percent from 2006 to 2008 and sales of glassware dropped 10 percent. However, a bright spot in the glassware category was crystal, which experienced a 7 percent increase in sales in the study period.

Overall the demand for functional tableware items dropped, as consumers turned their attention to purchasing more decorative items. Commenting on the findings from the most recent study, Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of "Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience," said, "Consumers are more interested in buying items that they can use to decorate or enhance the appearance of their dinner table than they are in buying items that can be used specifically for dining purposes. So rather than buy a new dinnerware place setting, they are more likely to buy candlesticks or a vase; rather than buy a new serving bowl set, they are more likely to buy a decorative bowl to work into a centerpiece display."

The results of this study show that for marketers and retailers their key opportunity for growth lies in delivering to consumers the luxury of decorative items that will enhance the dining experience, rather than the necessity of serving and eating.

Making research findings actionable for marketers and retailers

In the new "Tabletop Report 2009: The Ultimate Guide to the Consumer Market for Tabletop Marketers and Retailers," Danziger, the study's author, aimed to take the findings from the research and translate them into actionable strategies and tactics that marketers can use to build a robust and vibrant business. "We can't ignore that consumer marketers face an incredibly challenging market today. Companies are stressed to reduce costs and find efficiencies. At the same time, marketers now more than ever need to understand their customer in order to develop marketing programs that will deliver results and design new products that get people to buy. In this new study we aimed to deliver more value to the marketers by taking the key research findings up a notch to help them clearly identify opportunities and strategies they can use," Danziger concludes.

Unity Marketing's "Tabletop Report 2009" helps marketers take action

In order to bridge the gap between research findings and actionable marketing strategies, the "Tabletop Report 2009" is packed full of advice and recommendations for marketers, a new feature of Unity Marketing's reports. Rather than leave the reader guessing, it shows marketers how to put the research-based insights to work in building their businesses and their connection with the target consumer.

The report analyzes the results of a survey among 1,165 consumers (average income $98,000; 66 percent female; average age 44.2 years). The results are compared with data gathered for the tabletop report in 2006. To learn more and order a copy, visit this link

With a focus on consumers and their buying behavior, needs, desires and preferences, this research study includes research data and statistics about:

--  Tabletop Market Size and Growth: What is the size of the tabletop
    market, including the six key product segments in the market -- Dinnerware;
    Glassware & Crystal; Flatware; Servingware; Tabletop Decorative
    Accessories; and Other Tabletop Accessories? How are the market's sales
    segmented by type of product and channels of distribution?   How rapidly is
    it growing?  What are future growth trends in the tabletop market?
--  Demographics of the Tabletop Market: What are the demographic
    characteristics that distinguish tabletop buyers?  What are the key
    demographic differences found among and between buyers of the different
    products and service segments (e.g., gender, age, generation, HHI, size,
    composition, ethnicity/race, education, etc.)?
--  Buying and Shopping Behavior of Tabletop Consumers: What are the
    primary characteristics of the consumers' buying behaviors related to
    tabletop goods?  Where do tabletop consumers shop for the different types
    of products and services? What kind of shopping experiences do consumers
    crave and what kind do they disdain?  What motivates them to buy tabletop
    and how can marketers tap these motivators through branding and marketing
    communications initiatives?  What factors influence their decision making
    in product purchase?  How much do they spend buying each of the products
    and across the entire category? What is the role of brand in product and
    services selection and shopping choices?  How do different demographic
    segments differ in their shopping and buying behavior?
--  Favorite Tabletop Brands, Stores & Designers:  A major thrust of the
    research is to understand the brand preferences of tabletop customers in
    both their product selections and retail shopping choices.  What designers,
    product brands and retailers do they think of for their purchases?  How do
    these competing brands rank in terms of consumer awareness and usage?
--  Psychographic Profile and Segmentation of the Tabletop Market: A
    psychographic profile of the tabletop consumer is presented in this study.
    The profiles identify different types or personalities of consumers of
    tabletop goods. These profiles identify each personality's drives and
    motivations in purchasing home products.  By understanding the psychology
    of different types of shoppers, marketers will discover what factors are
    more or less important in driving each personality's purchasing decisions
    and how consumers' different attitudes and motivations influence what they
    buy and how much they spend.  These insights will help tabletop marketers
    and retailers better understand the hearts and minds of their consumers.

About Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights, especially for marketers and retailers that sell luxury goods and experiences to the masses or the 'classes.' She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992.

Advising such clients as PPR, Diageo, Google, Waterford-Wedgwood, Lenox, Swarovski, GM, Orient-Express Hotels, Italian Trade Commission, Marie Claire magazine, The World Gold Council, and The Conference Board, Pam taps consumer psychology to help clients navigate the changing consumer marketplace.

In recognition of her ground-breaking work in the luxury consumer market, Pam received the Global Luxury Award presented by Harper's Bazaar for top luxury industry achievers in 2007.

Her latest book is "Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience," published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006. Her other books include "Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses -- as well as the Classes," (Dearborn Trade Publishing, $27, hardcover) and "Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior" (Chicago: Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004).

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Pam Danziger