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    Study: U.S. Consumers Spending More on Housewares

    ROSEMONT, Ill. - Americans bought $62.2 billion worth of housewares at retail in 2003, according to the "2004 State-of-the-Industry Report" from the International Housewares Association (IHA). U.S. households spent an average of $578 each on housewares, a higher amount than that spent on fruits and vegetables ($563) or dairy products ($335).

    ROSEMONT, Ill. - Americans bought $62.2 billion worth of housewares at retail in 2003, according to the "2004 State-of-the-Industry Report" from the International Housewares Association (IHA). U.S. households spent an average of $578 each on housewares, a higher amount than that spent on fruits and vegetables ($563) or dairy products ($335).

    "U.S. consumers continued to invest in their homes and the products that make them more livable," said IHA president Philip J. Brandl in a statement. "Using IHA's definition of housewares, consumer spending rose 7.4 percent in 2003, a very healthy showing."

    Even more important, the report indicates a continued pattern of growth for the U.S. housewares industry, noted Brandl. "U.S. consumer spending on housewares has increased an average of 4.9 percent annually over the past five years." He added, "Even with the concerns in the broader economy, in 2003, the home continued to be a key driver of consumer spending."

    Household electrics led consumer housewares purchases in 2003, representing 14.7 percent of direct-to-retail sales dollars, while cook and bakeware categories accounted for 11.8 percent and kitchen electrics captured 11.5 percent. Next were space organizers, closets and clothing care at 9.9 percent, and tabletop at 8.7 percent.

    The report divided 13 direct-to-retail channels into four major groups:

    -The big three: This category earned a 54.8 percent share of 2003 housewares sales to retail, led by discount stores/supercenters like Wal-Mart, Target, Wal-Mart Supercenter, SuperTarget, Meijer, and Fred Meyer. Specialty stores such as Pier 1 Imports, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Linens 'n Things edged out department stores in 2003, with 12.2 percent of housewares sales. Although JCPenney and Kohl's did well, U.S. department stores continued their generally downward sales trend, garnering 12.1 percent of sales.

    -The middle five: Hardware stores/home centers, supermarkets, warehouse clubs, drug stores, gourmet/gift/novelty stores, and souvenir stores made up 27.6 percent of direct-to-retail housewares sales last year. "The big story last year was in the gourmet and gift channel," said Brandl. "We saw significant growth in this category, which accounted for 5.1 percent of sales last year." Supermarket share of housewares increased slightly to 8 percent of direct-to-retail, as did drug store share (3.1 percent). At the same time, housewares sales through hardware stores surged 7.8 percent and warehouse clubs slipped to 3.6 percent.

    -Niche players: Variety/one-price stores, home furnishings/appliance stores, and catalog showrooms accounted for nearly 6.3 percent of direct-to-retail housewares sales.

    -Virtual retailers: Virtual retailers, including direct-to-end users such as mail, infomercials, TV, electronic/Internet orders, and third-party mail-order catalogs, took in only 4.8 percent of housewares sales, but this figure may be underreported, since many brick-and-mortar retailers record their virtual and traditional housewares sales together.

    "The 2004 State-of-the-Industry Report" is available to all IHA members for $100 and to the public for $200. For more information, contact Perry Reynolds, v.p. of marketing & trade development at (847) 692-0109 or [email protected].

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