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Fall 2008 Trends Forecast Is Available On High Point Market Authority Website

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The High Point Market Authority announced that its Fall 2008 Trends Forecast is available now for download at www.highpointmarket.org. Featuring insights from leading trend-trackers, manufacturers and retailers, the new, in-depth special report identifies and explores the season’s important product, color, lifestyle and demographic trends, and offers recommendations from leading industry experts on connecting with today’s consumer in the coming months. “This report comes at an ideal time for buyers across the country and around the world, many of whom are preparing to attend the High Point Market next month,” says Brian D. Casey, president and chief executive officer of the High Point Market Authority, official sponsor of the High Point Market: The World’s Home for Home Furnishings. “With some 2,000 exhibitors set to introduce product here, it’s important for buyers to learn as much as they can about what’s on trend in advance of their arrival here at Market. And, in an environment in which many professionals in the home furnishings business are challenged to do more with less, we’re pleased to be able to offer the Fall Trends Forecast as one of the many unique and useful resources available only on our website, www.highpointmarket.org.” According to Casey, like all the other tools offered on the High Point Market site, the report is provided free of charge as a service to Market-goers. “Just key in your email address and you’ll have access to a wealth of creative inspiration and information from some of the best minds in our industry and beyond,” the executive notes. Among the trends detailed in the new report: Sanctuary Today’s consumers confront a complicated world. From political issues to personal concerns, they find themselves surrounded by problems for which there are no easy answers. According to researchers at Getty Images, one of the world’s largest providers of photography and illustration to the media and advertising industries, people are responding to this confusion by seeking simplicity. Home is perhaps the most natural place to create a sanctuary from the outside world, and home furnishings manufacturers are also seeing consumers trending toward simplicity. “Cleaner lines, simpler styling and natural materials are catching on. Heavy carving is out. Consumers are interested in and buying minimalist pieces, especially in accents,” says Tom Liddell, senior vice president of national sales at the Powell Company. Function While consumers are seeking simple shapes and clean lines, they also have another desire, one that adds a layer of complexity for manufacturers. “Function is big,” reports Don Essenberg, executive vice president, chief marketing officer at Magnussen Home Furnishings. “Today, a piece of furniture can’t just be decorative. It has to do something, and what it does has to relate to the end-user’s lifestyle.” Functional features such as charging stations for cell phones and iPods, flexible styling, pieces that can serve multiple purposes, and storage are all trends that fit consumers’ lifestyles today. Michael Slone, of Florida based retailer Slone Brothers Furniture, finds that his customers are not only asking, “How does it make my life better?” but are also focused on one particular functional feature. “It’s all about storage, storage, storage,” he says. “Case goods sell on how they help the customer meet her storage needs.” Color: Pantone’s View “I tend to be wary of phrases such as ‘what people want,’ ” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and one of the world’s leading experts on color. “People are different, not everyone wants the same thing.” In her PANTONE VIEW home + interiors 2009 forecast, produced specifically for the home furnishings industry Eiseman’s eight palettes offer a full complement of on-trend colors. The Pantone home palette is included in the Fall Trends Report with a characterization of each palette label, “Wine Country,” “Honesty,” “Discerning Tastes,” “Reveries,” “Wanderings,” “Solar Energy,” “Breathe Easy,” and “Animate.” Michelle Lamb, senior editor of The Trend Curve and a top trend-tracker recommends the purple hues for those looking for the one, sure-fire shade in any of these color directions. Since its last trend cycle more than a decade ago, Lamb reports that this time “the hues are on the red side rather than the blue, acting first as a bridge between blue and red, ultimately replacing both.” Pattern: Simply Complex In patterns, Lamb sees more decorative complexity complementing the streamlined forms of furnishings. “Right now, this is a small movement, but I expect mini-floral designs, simple stripes, plaid and denim to take on this highlighting role,” she says. “I’m also seeing textural embellishment, such as embroidery and crewel coming on the scene.” For the urban inspired consumer, the design direction connects to the ‘60s and ‘80s in a movement Lamb calls Graphic Arts and Eiseman illustrates in the Animate palette. Wood finishes will be getting lighter, with medium shades having the greatest appeal. “Eco- concerns have led to an increased use of reclaimed woods,” Eiseman notes, “And they’re being combined in some fascinating ways. Though some are a little funky, they’re all artfully executed. I think this movement arises from the younger generation’s putting environmental concerns ahead of the old design rules,” she states. Tuning Into Style Technology continues to drive spectacular growth in home entertainment furnishings, “especially as the transition from housing bulky TVs in armoires to showing off high-tech panel screens accelerates,” Michelle Lamb says. “Today, most solutions offered for flat screens look more like the TV stands of the 1970s. So simply upping the style quotient for these pieces should result in even more sales.” GenX Takes Over Though dominated by the Baby Boom generation for the past 20 years we are seeing a seismic shift in the home furnishings demographic focus, the 35 – to 54- year-old woman. Baby Boomers, defined as people born between 1946 and 1960, are aging out of the target demographic. In fact, most of our customers now belong to Generation X – born between 1963 and 1980. “There is a sea change in who’s buying and going to buy home furnishings,” says Magnussen’s Essenberg. “The Baby Boomers are still out there, but their influence is on the wane. Generation X is taking over and Generation Y (born from 1981 – 2001) is beginning to come on.” The prevailing myth that the Baby Boomers are the largest of the three generations is busted by the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates. The Boomers are actually the smallest of the groups, with just under 77 million people. Generation X will contain approximately 84 million people, and Generation Y will come in with just under 82 million. In our target demographic there will be about 31 million GenX and 22 million Baby Boom women between the ages of 32 and 56 years old next year. To maximize this opportunity, our industry will need to respond to the Xer’s different worldviews and home lives. Michael Slone finds the buying cycle has been greatly compressed. “Today, the average time spent in the store is half what it was 10 years ago,” he says, “More consumers are using the Internet to select the stores they’re going shop. We’ve made a considerable investment in our website.” About the High Point Market Authority: The High Point Market Authority is the official sponsor of the High Point Market in High Point, North Carolina. Featuring an extensive selection of exhibitors spanning every category, style and price point and attracting tens of thousands of visitors from more than 110 countries twice each year, the High Point Market is the driving force of the home furnishings industry.

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