NEW YORK-More than 70 percent of middle-market housewares executives expect stronger sales for their products in 2014, according to a survey conducted by CIT Group.
Given that positive outlook, 50 percent of the responding executives also said current economic conditions are straining their financial performance, and 79 percent said their performance is closely linked to the U.S. economy.
Despite these concerns, 38 percent of the survey participants said they see increased demand for upscale, premium housewares. Also, 34 percent said they are targeting consumers who want upscale, ergonomic, leading-edge technology and “high design” products, CIT said. Thirty percent of the executives said they are aggressively pursuing the market for more modestly priced housewares.
Jon Lucas, president of CIT Trade Finance, said, “Manufacturers are telling us that they are seeing an uptick in demand, particularly in upscale items, and that’s a very good indicator that the economy is improving.”
The survey also found that 27 percent of the executives are taking “significant steps” to shift offshore manufacturing back to the United States in an effort to help reduce shipping time (16 percent), improve quality (14 percent) and promote sales by being able to label products “Made in America.” Also, 50 percent of the respondents said they are aggressively pursuing sustainability initiatives in their product lines.