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Futon Life Magazine Conducts Exclusive “State of the Futon Industry” Survey

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Futon Life Magazine has just released the results of its latest retailer survey about futon sales and trends. As a service to the industry, Futon Life periodically conducts, analyzes and publishes retailer survey results. The previous Futon Life Retailer survey was tabulated in 2001. For the 2004 Futon Retailer Survey, Futon Life received 264 survey responses and gathered data from almost every state in the union. The data was collected over a period of several months in early to mid-2004. The respondents represented an array of store types. The 2004 results show an industry a few years older, a few years wiser and a few years stronger. Sales and Price Statistics Average store sales statistics for each category of store type are encouraging. Seventy-seven percent of the stores characterized themselves as “specialty” stores. That is an 18 percent increase over the 2001 report. Even more significant is a substantial increase in average dollars per square foot and average price point. In 2001, the average dollar amount per square foot was $299.25. In 2004, it jumped 25 percent to $401.25. This is an excellent number, especially when considering that the furniture industry average ranges from $189.00 to $283.00 (depending on whom you ask). The average price point is also up from $410.53 in 2001 to $457.02 today. A 10 percent increase is nothing to sneeze at, and when you realize the 2001 number was lower than the 1998 number ($440.00), this current increase pushes to the highest average price point ever. In 2001, 70 percent of futon sofas purchased sold for between $250-450. In 2004, over 67 percent of futon sleepers purchased were sold in the over-$450 ranges with only 17 percent below the $350 range. Available square footage dedicated to futon furniture is down from 1343 sq. ft. in 2001 to a smaller 1038 sq.ft. footprint in 2004. Demographics Female buyers increased slightly and male buyers decreased significantly, dropping from 18 percent to only seven percent of the sample. In 2001, the majority of futon buyers were aged 21-35 (53 percent) and 35-45 (40 percent). In 2004, the survey shows the demographic has expanded to include a significant increase in older buyers (45-60+). With an increase from seven percent in 2001 to almost 33 percent in 2004, it can be said that a much broader segment of the buying public is looking at futon sofa sleepers as a viable option for their homes. Room-use statistics may also trend toward older buyers who spend more leisure time in the home than the younger demographic: reported futon sleeper use in the den/TV room increased by 175 percent, with 30 percent choosing the Den/TV Room option in 2001 and almost 53 percent choosing it in 2004. What is the consumer purchasing? Solid wood frames have overwhelmed non-solid wood frames in this category for years, and this year is no exception. In fact, the sales of full size frames have dramatically risen from 70 percent in 2001 to more than 98 percent in 2004. Queen bottomed out at just over one percent overall from the six percent share in 2001. Conclusion Since 2001, much has changed, and the futon sofa sleeper industry is no exception. Older consumers have entered the futon sofa sleeper marketplace in considerable numbers and are making choices to purchase more expensive and higher quality furniture than ever before. With the futon sofa sleeper, wiser buyers can add style and versatility as well as comfort and price. This trend will make store sales that much stronger in 2005. About Futon Life Magazine: Futon Life is the only publication exclusively serving the futon sofa sleeper market. Futon Life is a quarterly publication with a circulation of 23,000+. The magazine has offered the most in-depth industry information about futon sofa sleepers since 1988. The Futon Life website, www.futonlife.com , contains information about the futon sofa sleeper industry for both retailers and consumers. Futonlife.com receives over 20,000 unique visitors each month. To see the results of all of Futon Life’s past surveys, visit www.futonlife.com/retailers/survey/index.php3 .

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