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Research Report Examines Current Mindset Of Home Furnishings Consumers

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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 homes. Recent casualties in the home furnishings market include Fortunoff, Wickes Furniture, Domain, Scan International, Sofa Express, Levitz, Bombay and Linens 'N Things.

"These bankrupt 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 were 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 who are active in home decorating and remodeling. Another survey 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. Excerpts and charts cam be viewed (pdf file by CLICKING HERE).

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 consumers have and 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 the role 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 Unity Marketing Home Furnishings & Decor 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, Google, 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.

Her latest book is Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience (Kaplan, $27) is in the bookstores now.

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).

She has appeared on CNN's In the Money, NBC's Today Show, CNBC, CNN International, CNNfn, CBS News Sunday Morning, Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, ABC News Now, NPR's Marketplace and is frequently called upon by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, American Demographics, Women's Wear Daily, Forbes, USA Today, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune for commentary and insight.

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