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, a market research company based in Port Washington, N.Y, 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.
NPD says non-gift dinnerware sales gained 3%, and even formal dinnerware gained a bit. Gift purchases, however, fell. And in beverageware, acrylic and plastic glasses -- the kind that make outdoor entertaining easier -- jumped 18% over the prior year, accounting for more dollars than crystal. Glass pitchers, carafes, punch bowls, and sets of glasses -- all dinner party staples -- are also showing growth. And while kitchen and table linens are down, placemat sales are up 14%.
Still, retailers would like to see bigger increases. In a survey by HomeGoods, a national off-price retailer, earlier this year, 47% of Americans have not updated their home decor in at least five years; 9% have not changed their look in 10 years or more.
And they are not happy about all the dinginess, either: Only 20% say they are pleased with the way they have decorated. And 14% say their home furnishings make them feel both gloomy and stressed.
There are also gender divides: 38% of men and 46% of women secretly wish they could throw out an item that their significant other keeps on display in their home, the survey found.