American Blinds Falling Behind Imported Options? A Look at the Numbers and the Reasons for Recent Trends

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As cheap window coverings flood the U.S. market, offers expertise to help homeowners choose between low-end imports and more costly American blinds.

It is no secret that United States factories in many industries are feeling pricing pressures from foreign countries, such as China and Mexico. North American blinds manufacturers are no different. With China's labor costs miniscule compared to those in an American blind factory, it is no wonder that window blinds imported from China with lower prices have become popular.

Recently, many homeowners have been going online to research and buy window coverings for their home. and other Internet retailers provide expert advice to help homeowners choose between low-end imports and more costly American blinds.

It is widely believed that China will continue to experience fast export growth next year, but the export growth rate is expected to drop to 21 per cent the following year, down 14 percentage points from this year. [1]

Some negative factors will challenge China's export growth next year. Rising energy and raw materials prices affect the international competitiveness of products made in China. Coal, electricity, and oil supply shortages, as well as limited transportation, hamper some export-oriented enterprises' production and the fulfillment of their contracts.

A growing number of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy charges and safeguard measures launched by other countries also pose a challenge to China's export growth.

Imported blinds are mostly made in standard sizes. The most-often used standard dimensions are 48 inches and 72 inches in height by 23, 30, 37, 44, 51, 58, 65, and 72 inches in width. The blinds are sometimes adjusted to fit the dimensions required by the consumer. As needed, slats are removed to shorten the blind and with special cutting machines can be made narrower by up to 3.5 inches at each end. Hence, a standard blind measuring 23 inches in width can be used to cover a window measuring anywhere from 16 to 23 inches in width. These kinds of blinds are found in many of the large home improvement stores. Their inherent limitations cause many people to shy away from them.

It's a fact that most American factories, while not buying complete blinds from China, still buy the slats and components there and import them to the United States. American blind factories assemble them and custom-make one blind at a time for individual consumers. These types of blinds are the kind most retailers sell. These are higher in quality and have features and options not available on mass-produced blinds. Some of these options include more color choices, decorative cloth tapes, special easy lifting mechanisms, motorization, cordless (especially good for added safety), top-down/bottom-up feature, etc. and other leading Websites feature comparisons of the different types and sources of window coverings on the market today.



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Daniel Cotlar