According to The NPD Group, the casualization trend is still evident for most tabletop categories, yet, ‘appearance’ is an increasingly important purchase motivator, moving slightly ahead of ‘price’ as the top reason cited by consumers. ‘Good value’ rounds out the top three reasons consumers purchase tabletop items, according to NPD’s Consumer Tracking Service.
Some bright spots in the tabletop industry so far this year have been crystal and acrylic or plastic beverageware, accounting for a third of the dollars in the 12 months ending August 2011, grabbing market share away from more mainstream products where glass is the primary material. Wine glasses, champagne glasses, and goblets are rising after taking a bit of a dip in sales the year prior, accounting for 15% of the dollars spent on beverageware.
Casual dinnerware and flatware continue to gain market share, (up five and four percentage points) respectively. Serving items, such as platters, bowls, and utensils, all had a good year in the market, thanks to the continued trend of entertaining at home.
BRICK AND MORTAR STILL RULES
Counter to many other industries, share of online sales are not growing for the housewares industry overall, signifying the importance of the in-store shopping experience, which accounts for 75% of the tabletop market. Purchasers of dinnerware, beverageware, and flatware prefer seeing and holding the products in person as part of the decision-making process. NPD also found that the incidence of buying tabletop items as gifts has declined (from 21% to 17%), indicating that more consumers are buying these items for themselves.
“With so many categories competing for consumers’ hard-earned disposable income, it will take more than a great price to attract buyers to a particular category,” said Debra Mednick, executive director, The NPD Group. “Key purchase influencers are more often newness and appealing design. Certainly we cannot diminish the importance of promotion, but today it’s expected as consumers are conditioned to shopping in this fashion. It’s not just about the bare necessities anymore.”
“There’s more focus on self-purchasing as opposed to gifting, which has additional implications for marketing and promotion. The industry has a window of opportunity to capture the attention of conflicted consumers with products that have the look and value they are seeking,” noted Mednick.[Source: "Consumer Tracking Service." The NPD Group. 25 Oct. 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2011.]