A closer look at what’s driving interest in area rugs

Some 29% of households plan to buy an area rug between now and the end of June, with younger consumers representing a third of those in the market for the category

HIGH POINT — When shopping for home furnishings, one of the highlights for many consumers is to be able to purchase something right off the floor and take it home that day.

And perhaps no category affords this opportunity better than area rugs, which just happens to be the subject of our latest and final installment in our Consumer Insights Now research for the first half of this year.

As with previous surveys, this installment surveyed nearly 1,900 consumers of different age groups and different geographic regions about their buying plans from January through June. All respondents are either the primary or joint decision maker in the household.

Among the key takeaways from the research is that an impressive 29% of households plan to buy an area rug between now and the end of June. Gen Z consumers up to age 26 are the largest segment with 34% planning to buy something in the category, followed by younger millennials and older millennials (both at 29%) and baby boomers at 26%. The planned purchases were about even — at 29% — between homeowners and renters and 29% for non-Hispanic and 26% for Hispanic consumers.

A majority of 40% plan to buy rugs priced between $100 and $299, followed by 30% planning to buy something under $100 and 17% planning to spend $300 to $499. From there, the numbers trail off significantly, with only 13% planning to spend between $500 and over $2,000, with the majority of those — 6% planning to spend $500 to $749 and only 2% respectively planning to spend between $1,000 to $1,999 and over $2,000.

Again, a majority of shoppers want the in-store experience when buying an area rug, with 58% of those surveyed wanting to buy in-store, versus 42% wanting to buy online. However, smaller, medium and even some large home furnishings retailers may face some stiff competition in this area as many identified places like Walmart, Lowe’s and Costco as the types of brick-and-mortar stores they are considering shopping for such an item, with Amazon.com being the next preferred destination in the category. Older millennials and those living in an apartment were among the consumers most likely to shop online, with the remaining age groups preferring a physical store.

In order, other preferred destinations included national furniture chains, 16%; Wayfair.com, 11%; a local or regional furniture store, 8%; and a local designer, 3%.

Other key findings of the survey are as follows:

+ Two out of three area rugs will be placed in the living room and 73% will be in a high traffic area. Some 17% will be placed in the family room or den, and 14% will be placed in the primary bedroom followed by 10% in the dining room.

+ Some 70% of area rugs will be rectangular, with most consumers seeking either 10 feet by 14 feet or 8 feet by 10 feet.

+ Consumers prefer flat, smooth and plush textures, although the majority of consumers are not sure which they prefer, thus giving the retail sales associate an opportunity to help educate and sell with a large selection.

+ One out of three consumers prefer a machine-washable rug, which also is a feature preferred by consumers under 35.

+ And, on average, consumers expect their area rug to last between two and nine years, a wide spread that makes sense, considering that many want to place them in high traffic areas of the home.

Other areas covered by the survey include the preferred types of rug construction and materials as well as a breakdown by region for each of these areas of interest.

As we consider the results of this survey, we realize the area rug category is dynamic in its use of colors, patterns and materials. This obviously not only makes it fun to shop for the category — it also provides some level of instant gratification as consumers can easily purchase them with cash or credit and take them home that day.

As always, we hope this information sheds some light into what shoppers in your area are looking for in the category. And as you continue to mull over your spring shopping plans for a summer or fall assortment, we hope it also yields some good information that guides your purchasing decisions. We hope you have as much fun buying in the category as we did with this deep dive and hope it continues to yield sales and profits for your business.

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.

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