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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Furniture sales on the rise (again) in February

Observation:   A story in Crain’s New York yesterday indicated that sales in the home furnishings category are really taking-off nicely.  Click here to see the story.

Implications:   In recent Audience DNA research workshops, I’ve encouraged marketing professionals to stop thinking about “Adults 25-54” or “Women 18-49” as their target audience.   People don’t buy furniture just because they’re a particular age.  Their purchases are often influenced by the length of residence in their current home, and the extent to which they plan to stay there.

The foreclosure crisis created a whole new segment of renters; when someone moves from a house to an apartment, the McMansion-sized furniture often won’t fit.  Families who fall into this group often have up to a year to plan, however, so they sell the old stuff on Craigslist and save up some cash to outfit their new dwelling.

There’s a growing number of folks who are not victims of the real estate meltdown… but beneficiaries of it.  They’re swooping in to upgrade to a new home while there are still lots of great deals on houses out there.  New house = new furniture. 

As much press as was given to foreclosures, there is an even larger number of people who purchased their home at the peak of the real estate bubble are now up-side-down.  They’re not at risk of foreclosure, but they are unlikely to flip their current house and move into a new dream home anytime soon.  So they’re doing things to make this house the home of their dreams.  Alas, new home furnishings and home improvements can be a part of their plan.

Finally, folks who’ve been in their current home for eight to ten years or more are simply eager to do an upgrade.  Their current home furnishings look dated or worn, so they’re likely to welcome any new ideas that give their house a fresh new look and greater functionality.

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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