A closer look at the design preferences of South Atlantic consumers

Research offers insights into which styles shoppers favor by region, along with where they look for design inspiration

HIGH POINT — When developing and selling furniture, it makes sense for manufacturers and retailers alike to have a sense of what styles appeal to customers in different parts of the country.

Which is another reason to pay attention to our Consumer Insights Now regional reports that began publishing on Sept. 19 and continued Sept. 26 with our second installment — The South Atlantic.  

The survey polled nearly 400 residents of Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia about home furnishings and bedding they plan to buy in the second half of 2022.

Here are some insights from this latest installment.

Some 62% of those surveyed said that style and design were among the top considerations when buying bedroom, dining room and office furniture, compared to 67% of those surveyed who said the same about upholstery. Each ranked number three in importance following quality and durability. Next in importance were things like colors and fabric options and the size or scale of the furniture.

That style ranked so important is perhaps no surprise given that furniture is a fashion industry.

So what were the style preferences?

Minimalist styles ranked No. 1, chosen by 53% of the households in the region, compared to 54% nationwide. This was followed by Modern Farmhouse, a huge style trend started by the likes of Universal Furniture and others. It was preferred by 38% of those surveyed, compared to 35% in the national survey.

 The next most popular style was rustic, preferred by 20% of those surveyed, compared to 21% nationwide, followed by midcentury modern and industrial, tied at 17%, compared to 19% and 21%, respectively nationwide. The next most popular style was contemporary and maximalist, tied at 16%, compared to 17% each nationwide and last but not least, traditional, which was favored by 15% of those surveyed, and 14% nationwide.

This also was similar to results from our first regional report on the Northeast, which showed the most popular style preferences in order were: Minimalist, chosen by 58% of respondents, Modern Farmhouse (37%), Rustic (22%), Midcentury Modern (20%), Maximalist (18%) Contemporary and Industrial (both tied at 17%) and Traditional (13%).

Also significant was where the respondents of the South Atlantic states found design inspiration. Fifty-two percent said at retail stores and 39% said furniture retail websites or other online resources. Thirty-five percent found inspiration in magazines and furniture catalogs, while social media was favored by 32% of those surveyed, followed by 27% who said family and 25% said friends and neighbors.

The lowest on the list were manufacturers (21%), influencers on social media, (14%) and newspapers (3%) — no big surprise there.

Yet while newpapers ranked extremely low the respondents looked to other media sources for inspiration, including 35% from magazines and 32% from social media. Among the most popular magazines cited in order included traditional titles such as Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, Good Housekeeping, HGTV Magazine and Country Living. Top sources of inspiration in social media in order included Pinterest, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Tik Tok. Note too that the Gen Z (18-25) and Millennial (26-41) respondents were more likely to use Instagram and Tik Tok than any other platforms.

Another interesting takeaway? Seven percent of those surveyed have used an interior designer in the past. However, some 63% of those surveyed said they plan to use one at some point in the future.

Ultimately, success in the industry is ultimately all about the finished product and how it appeals to the end consumer. The lessons of this latest regional report are to pay attention to the what styles consumers favor in the marketplace along where they are looking for inspiration and help in executing those plans.

How you address those style preferences could help guide your success in the short and long term as well.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

View all posts by Thomas Russell →

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