Kid culture is becoming the new money maker for home decor catalogers. Following on the heels of fashion retailers such as The Gap, The Limited and Talbots, which in the mid-1990s began offering children’s clothing that mirrored adult fashions, kid-sized products are now filtering into the bedroom and playroom. In the past several years, Neiman Marcus, The Company Store and Pottery Barn have all created catalogs for kids. These new catalogs are chock full of endearing offerings for kids—furniture, bedding and housewares—at adult-sized prices.
Home Furnishings: Catalog Magnet
According to data released in 1999 by Banc of America Securities, consumers spend an average of $1,215 per household annually for home furnishings; 46 percent of that figure is on furniture. Housewares comprise the largest segment of total furniture sales, 25 percent, and is among the fastest growing segments of the industry.
In addition, home furnishings and housewares are the second and third fastest growing merchandise categories in cataloging. According to The 1999 Direct Marketing Association Statistical Fact Book that charted catalog purchases by category, home furnishings accounted for 9.4 percent of total products sold through catalogs in spring 1998.
Catalogers are seeking to get their share of that $1,215 spent on home furnishings by carving a foothold in every room of the house and in every age group from infant to adult. Merchandising experts cite a variety of reasons for the bursting children’s furniture catalog business, primarily the deep pockets of the nation’s largest demographic, the baby boomers.
Whether they be parents or grandparents, this generation, merchandising experts say, is willing to spend a considerable sum on home goods. In addition to their ability to purchase pricey wares, baby boomers are also buying and building bigger homes with more rooms to fill. The furniture offered is appealing to this group because it is sophisticated, trendy and represents smaller versions of parents’ own furniture styles.