Furniture Shoppers Stay the Course for Christmas

For more information call:
C. Britt Beemer or
Chris L. Cooper

Furniture Shoppers Stay the Course for Christmas
--Index continues longest run of solid shopping plans --

Charleston, SC
December 1, 1999 - Consumers are continuing to include furniture in their shopping plans as the Furniture Buying Index fell one point to 84, but remained above the key 80 mark for a record ninth consecutive month.

"Although this is our fourth month to drop," Britt Beemer, senior retail analyst and chairman of America's Research Group announced today, "we continue to see furniture included in the buying plans of many consumers, even in the Christmas season." "This is especially good news as we head into the final sale season this century, the '13th month,' that last week between Christmas day and New Year's."

"After last month's sharp drop, I was expecting to see another strong move down, but to fall just a point indicates that shoppers aren't excluding home furnishings from their Christmas shopping list."

Citing a list of still-positive factors, including low unemployment, high wages, high stock market values and increased household savings over the past few years, Beemer said it wasn't hard to understand why shoppers are still focused on spending when they see the price points they want.

"Those retailers who jump into the season's battle, with sharp promotions driven by four-color print advertising and TV campaigns that feature a good selection of branded items, will definitely see strong traffic in their stores," Mr. Beemer predicted.

The Furniture Buying Index is compiled each month by America's Research Group from interviews with up to 5,000 consumers across the country. Typically, 80 percent of the consumers interviewed in a month can name a specific furniture piece they intend to buy. The Index's mark reveals what percent of those consumers actually have a particular item in mind. Britt Beemer is founder and chairman of America's Research Group, a full-service consumer behavior research company.

With corporate offices located in scenic Charleston, SC, ARG serves many leading consumer products manufacturers and retailers by providing in-depth original research and strategic planning services. Britt, often called a 'retail terrorist' for his aggressive strategies to win customers from the competition, is the author of Predatory Marketing, What Everyone Needs to Know to Win Today's Customer. His second book, spotlighting emerging trends that will impact business in the coming decade, will be published in the spring of the year 2000 by Simon & Schuster.

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