More Americans Entertaining at Home, Purchasing Casual Dinnerware

While the recession took a big bite out of home-​décor spending, it looks like consumers are spending more to live it up at home. A new study from NPD Group says that 12% of Americans entertained at home more this year than in years past, while 37% say they are entertaining at least as often as prior years. 

And while the entire dinnerware segment continues to show declines, the casual segment — which represents more than half of all sales — grew by 4% in a 12-​month period.

"Consumers continue to spend more time at home, and entertaining at home is a cost-​effective way of getting together with family and friends," says the company in its report. "With increased frequency and more casual gatherings, in general, the table is following suit with cost-​effective, convenient, and casual options." Color and ease of cleaning are growing in importance when shoppers make their selections, it says.

Dinnerware:

  • The casual segment, which represents more than half of dinnerware sales, experienced four percent growth in the 12 months ending February 2011, while the category as a whole continues to show declines.
  • Non-​gift dinnerware purchases are up three percent overall, and up slightly among the formal segment as well, while gift purchases are down.
  • Color and ease of cleaning have grown in importance among dinnerware purchase motivators.

Beverageware:

  • In the 12 months ending February 2011, acrylic/​plastic beverageware, grew 18% over the previous year, accounting for more category dollars than the crystal segment.
  • Similar to dinnerware, non-​gift beverageware purchase dollars have grown three percent.
  • Glass pitchers, carafes, punch bowls, and sets of glasses are also showing growth.

Flatware:

  • Flatware and serving utensil sets grew in the 12 months ending February 2011, with dollar sales up seven and two percent respectively, this growth came primarily from the casual segment.
  • In the overall flatware category, gift purchases have grown two percent, while non-​gift purchases are down compared to last year.
  • Price and value are among purchase motivators growing in importance, along with dishwasher safe, easy to clean, and matching other items.

Linens:

  • Overall, kitchen and table linens are down during the 12 months ending February 2011, but placemats gained 14% in dollar sales compared to the previous year.
  • Among table linens, solid dark colors and patterns/​prints are gaining popularity with 11 and nine percent dollar sales growth compared to last year.
  • Kitchen and dining home fashions purchases for special occasions are on the rise almost across the board from birthdays and bridal showers to Mother's Day and Christmas/​Hanukkah. However, items purchased for no special occasion are on the decline.
[Source:  "Outdoor Entertaining Trends 2010: Consumers Bring the Indoors Out."  The NPD Group.  12 Apr. 2011.  Web.  27 Apr. 2011.]