Luxury Home Furnishings Marketers, Prepare to Get Comfortable!

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A number of key indicators point to renewal in the high-end housing market which benefits marketers selling goods and services for the home. A new study from Unity Marketing guides home furnishings marketers to tap the potential for growth among affluent home owners.

Pamela N. Danziger, Unity Marketing

The market for luxury home furnishings gets a bounce as the high-end housing market recovers with customers now returning to stores looking for items that restore calm after the recession’s storm.

Finally, the nation's housing market is showing signs of recovery which will bring new opportunities for marketers that sell furniture, home furnishings, appliances, remodeling products and other home-related goods. The National Association of Realtors recently released news that existing-home sales rose 10.4 percent in July from last year, while the price of a home was up 9.4 percent.

For marketers targeting homeowners at the higher-end of the housing market, there is even more good news in the NAR report. The share of existing-home buyers that are trading up is higher in 2012, as first-time, entry-level home buyers accounted for only about one-third of recent purchasers this year. Historically, first-time buyers make up some 40 percent of home purchasers.

Is your company positioned to get your share of this prosperous and growing luxury home furnishings market?

“Now the housing market is showing signs of recovery as affluent consumers are trading up and investing in new homes. That means opportunity for marketers selling things for the homes people are buying,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of a new trend report on the home furnishings market entitled Home Is Where the Luxury Is. “Unity Marketing has just published a new report for marketers to understand the affluent customer ready to invest in improving their homes in order that their marketing messages match the consumers’ needs and desires.”

In more good news from the luxury housing landscape, [Toll Brothers, the Horsham, PA-based company that is the only national builder focused on the luxury housing market, just announced home sales (average price $576,000) in the past quarter were up 41 percent from last year. Toll Brothers CEO Douglas Yearley attributes the company’s growth and bullish outlook on low-interest rates, good pricing for their luxury-enhanced properties, and affluent consumers who postponed trading up during the recession returning to the housing market. With even more signed contracts and non-binding reservations in the bag, Yearley is justified in his statement, “We are enjoying the most sustained demand we’ve experienced in over five years.”

With affluent consumers buying new homes, the demand for home furnishings is also on the rise, which is giving a boost to home furnishings and furniture retailers’ profits. The U.S. Census department’s Advanced Monthly Retail Sales just reported that in the first seven months of 2012, home furnishings and furniture store sales grew 9.3 percent from 2011 totals. This makes furniture and home furnishings stores the second fastest growing retail sector after non-store retailers. It’s news like this that should get home furnishings marketers and retailers inspired to make sure they get their share of this rapidly growing market.

Unity Marketing offers a new trend report, entitled Home Is Where the Luxury Is: A Study of Luxury Consumers and Their Furnishings, Redecorating and Remodeling Purchases.

This trend report will give valuable research-based insights and marketing strategies to help marketers assess their opportunities and grow their business. This new study of high-end home furnishings customers gives market-based facts and figures that will inspire marketers to develop new strategies for their brands and their businesses.

Survey finds comfort beats function in home furnishings

“For example, the research shows that some 60 percent of high-end home furnishings customers look for items that make them feel calm and comfortable,” says Danziger. “This ranks way ahead of home furnishings that are primarily functional (39 percent) or a well-known brand (38 percent). This suggests new directions for home furnishings marketers in product design and advertising creative to present their brand in line with customers underlying psychology. Further it directs retailers to create a calm and comfortable environment in their stores.”

The data and analysis home furnishings marketers need to effectively reach their most valuable consumer is contained in Home Is Where the Luxury Is 2012, a comprehensive report that shows who is buying home furnishings, where they shop, how much they spend, and what marketing messages resonate with them.

More about the Research

This trend report, Home Is Where the Luxury Is, will be a powerful tool to help you benefit from a vital and growing luxury home market. It covers two surveys among luxury consumers giving different perspectives on their luxury homes.

  •     Home Furnishings Purchases: The latest, conducted in April 2012, covers luxury consumers who purchased of home furnishings items, including decorative items as well as furniture, bedding, art and others (excluding home electronics and major home appliances). The survey sample was 1,271 affluent (top 20 percent income) luxury consumers. Average income $274.8k; 44.8 years; 45 percent male and 55 percent female.
  •     Major Home Projects: Affluent luxury consumers involved in major home projects (2010). This survey was conducted among 1,349 affluent luxury consumers (Average income $306.7k; 44.8 years; 45 percent male and 55 percent female). Results were compared with similar study conduct in 2008 among 1,024 affluent luxury consumers (Average income $204,800; age 45 years; and men 36 percent/women 64 percent 2008 income weighted to 2010 income sample)

The Objectives

To understand the market for luxury home goods and services, specifically:

  •     Profile the luxury home furnishings consumers, what they buy, where they shop, how much they spend and most importantly, why they buy
  •     Market size and growth of the luxury home furnishings market
  •     Attitudes and motivations in home furnishings purchases
  •     Factors that influenced home purchases
  •     Places where luxury consumers shop for their home
  •     Use of a decorator or designer and why they use a decorator
  •     Favorite styles of home decorating
  •     Trends in major home projects, 2008 to 2010
  •     Trends in amount spent on major home projects
  •     Personalities of luxury home consumers and how to sell to them

>> Our goal is to help you put consumer insights and understanding to work to grow your business

The results of this research are analyzed to help home marketers and retailers understand the opportunity among the affluent consumers. Take action slides call out specific strategies marketers and retailers can use to attract more luxury consumers to their brands and their businesses.

About Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer. She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar.

Pam gives luxury marketers "All Access" to the mind of the luxury consumer. She uses qualitative and quantitative market research to learn about their brand preferences, shopping habits, and attitudes about their luxury lifestyles, then turns these insights into actionable strategies for marketers to use to reach these high spending consumers. Unity Marketing is the voice of the luxury consumer for such clients as PPR, Diageo, Starwood, Google, Swarovski, Constellation Wines, Luxottica, Orient-Express Hotels, Italian Trade Commission, Marie Claire magazine, The World Gold Council, and The Conference Board.

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Pam's latest book is Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How new consumer values are redefining the way we market luxury (Paramount Market Publishing, 2011). Her other books include Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience, published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006; 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).

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