SOURCE: Unity Marketing

October 16, 2008 13:55 ET

Trouble in the Housing Market Is Taking Home Furnishings Companies Down With It; New Research Report From Unity Marketing Examines the Current Mindset and Psychology of Home Furnishings Consumers to Help Home Furnishings Marketers and Retailers Discover Actionable Marketing Strategies

STEVENS, PA--(Marketwire - October 16, 2008) - Trouble in the housing market is resulting in collateral damage in the home furnishings market. Marketers and retailers that sell to the home furnishings needs of consumers often see their fortunes rise and fall with the pace at which people buy new homes. Recent casualties in the home furnishings market include Fortunoff, Wickes Furniture, Domain, Scan International, Sofa Express, Levitz, Bombay and Linens 'N Things.

"These home marketers may have suffered from a hostile selling environment, but their demise was not inevitable," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of a new study of the home furnishings consumer market. "These companies failed to adapt to a changing consumer marketplace. They were not proactive enough and out of touch with the rapid change of pace in their customers lives. To be successful home marketers need first to understand the mind set of the customer and how consumer psychology influences their shopping behavior, then marketers must take action based upon those insights in order to remain relevant. That is what separates home consumers' favorite home marketers as ranked in Unity's latest survey, specifically Home Depot, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond, from the losers."

New Unity Marketing study examines the changes in the home furnishings market

Unity Marketing has just published a new research study of the home furnishings market that examines the results of two consumer surveys. One survey was conducted among 1,360 consumers with incomes of $50,000 and above and who are active in home decorating and remodeling. Another looks more closely at the affluent market through a survey of 1,026 luxury consumers (incomes $100,000 and above). This new study provides two different consumer perspectives in a single report.

Among the important findings for home marketers targeting both the 'classes' and the 'masses' that make up the home furnishings consumer market are:

--  The potential market for home furnishings is huge:  About half of
    American consumer households with incomes of $50,000 or more were involved
    in home decorating or remodeling projects in the past year or plan to
    undertake such projects in the coming year.  Through this study, marketers
    will learn how much these consumers spend on their projects, what they buy
    and how to reach these highly motivated consumers who both need and desire
    home solutions.
    
--  Outdoor living is a priority for home consumers:  When it comes to
    upgrading their homes, Americans often forego more luxurious interiors in
    favor of creating inviting outdoor living areas.  This study will give
    marketers and retailers ideas about ways to help their customers enliven
    their outdoor living areas.
    
--  The Internet plays a vital role in influencing home consumers: When it
    comes to learning about new products and brands, the Internet is the go-to
    source for home consumers.   Through a special investigation into how home
    consumers use the Internet, marketers will discover how to maximize the
    potential of their websites to reach buyers online.
    

This report is packed full of actionable information that marketers and retailers can put to use immediately to maximize sales and grow their businesses

In order to bridge the gap between research findings and actionable marketing strategies, Unity Marketing has packed the "Home Furnishings & Decor Report 2008" full of advice and recommendations about how marketers can 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 1,360 consumers (average income $123,900; 65 percent female; average age 44.3 years) and 1,026 affluent consumers (average income $204,800; 64 percent female; average age 45 years). The two surveys combined provide perspectives on both the mass and the luxury market for home furnishings marketers and retailers.

Details are provided in the report about :

--  Demographics that characterize the prime home furnishings consumer

--  What they have, what they own, including size of house and lot, indoor
    and outdoor features of their home; luxuries they own including second
    homes

--  How they define luxury in their lifestyle and in terms of their home
    furnishings purchases

--  Recent home changes and planned changes, including rooms involved,
    features changed

--  Purchase detail, including type of product, amount spent, where bought
    and whether the items bought were on sale; a luxury or mass brand;
    and/or a necessity or a desire-driven purchase.  Further the key
    attributes that influenced the most recent purchase are analyzed in
    four product categories:

      --  Linens, home decorating fabrics, window and wall coverings

      --  Furniture, mattresses and foundations, lamps and lighting, floor
          coverings and rugs

      --  Outdoor lawn, patio, garden products

      --  Kitchen and/or laundry major appliances, kitchen and bath
          fixtures, cabinetry, countertops and other building products.

--  Where consumers gather decorating advice and their favorite decorating
    styles

--  Special investigation into use of home decorators and how the Internet
    influences home consumers

--  In-depth study of the shopping behavior of home consumers, including
    favorite stores, where they regularly and occasionally turn for home
    needs, what service features influence them in the places they like to
    shop.

--  Attitudes about home furnishings and home decorating, including the
    identification of five distinct personalities that make up the home
    consumer marketplace.

For more information on the new "Home Furnishings & Décor Report 2008" and how marketers can use the information in support of their marketing strategies and tactics, call Pam Danziger at 717-336-1600 or visit http://www.unitymarketingonline.com/cms_home/homedecor/Home_Report_2008.php

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 as well as the 'classes.' She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992.

Advising such clients as PPR, Diageo, Waterford-Wedgwood, Goggle, 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.

Her latest book is "Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience" (Kaplan, $27). 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
    717-336-1600