Tidbits offer us insight into industry's future
Jerry Epperson -- Furniture Today, February 27, 2012
I think you would be astonished at how much I read, just to find little tidbits that might give some insight into the furniture and mattress industry. We then integrate this into our analysis that goes out in this column, our monthly newsletter, our larger studies and my speeches.
My firm purchases several demographic and statistical series, lots of publications like The Economist and some reference books like the "U.S. Statistical Abstract."
I have been a member of The World Futurist group for a couple of decades. Yes, they have conferences to discuss what our work, home, schools and businesses will look like 10, 20, even 50 years from now. About 15 years ago, I wrote "The Home of the Future" based on what I learned from this group, and most has come true.
Here's an idea that will likely happen: "The Me Store." Each household or individual will have a website and list what they want or would like to buy. It will be up to retailers to respond with their best price and delivery information. In other words, it reverses the roles - we don't go shopping, stores find us and compete to get our business. Tomorrow's emancipated time conscious consumer may well ask why they should take their valuable time to comparison shop. This is coming - just watch.
Some of the socio-demographic services we subscribe to give us a synopsis of larger studies. For example, 40% of affluent households (earning $100,000 or more) are dining at home more today than before the recession and 37% are doing more cooking from scratch, all according to the Symphony IRF Group in Chicago. Eighty-five percent of households earning over $75,000 own at least one HDTV, while only 48% of those earning less than $30,000 do, according to Leichtman Research Group, and only 3% of households with HDTVs have one that has 3D capability.
Homeowners spend dramatically more on home furnishings than renters, as we all know. As of fall 2011, 45% of all African-American households owned a home vs. 47% for Hispanics, 58% for Asians and 74% for white households. In each of these groups, homeownership is 2% to 3% below where it was in 2006, all according to Pew Research.
A study by Fleishman-Hilliard shows that the No. 1 consideration for women making a purchase is not just price, but clear pricing information. It was stated by 74% of the responses with the second most import factor, quality of materials, getting 38%. Does anyone have less clear pricing than furniture and mattresses?
I enjoy reading all this, as hard as it is to believe, because it gives me additional input into the many trends that are changing our consumer base faster than most of us want to know.