PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.-U.S. sales of non-electric housewares edged up 0.5 percent to $5.6 billion in the 12 months ending in September 2013, according to data from The NPD Group.
The slight surge in sales came after years of declines for the industry, NPD said. Debra Mednick, the research firm’s executive director and home industry analyst, said, “The apparent leveling of the housewares industry is great to see after being challenged by the economy and shifting consumer behavior for several years. If last year, with 37 percent of annual sales coming from the fourth quarter, is any reflection of what is in store this year, there is real potential for the industry to see a positive finish to 2013.”
NPD’s research also found that online sales of non-electrics increased by 8 percent in that 12-month period, and that online now accounts for 15 percent of total non-electrics sales. Mednick said this figure came as no surprise, considering the investment in their websites by both brick-and-mortar and pure-play e-commerce retailers, along with the work they are doing with manufacturers to improve merchandising.
Specialty stores topped all channels with 32 percent of non-electrics sales in the 12 months ending in September, followed by mass merchants at 30 percent. The NPD data showed that sales at department stores and warehouse clubs grew the most during last year’s holiday shopping season, but that growth continued into 2013 only for warehouse clubs.
“Department stores are not the primary place consumers think of for non-electrics that they once were,” Mednick said. “Assortments and discounts draw today’s housewares consumer into a different kind of store. Department stores, and retailers in general, should look to become a one-stop shop, attracting housewares consumers while they are purchasing other items in their store or on their website.”