14576 Thu, 05/29/2008 - 3:36pm
The portable lamp business decreased by 8 percent in 2007 as a reflection of the overall malaise at retail.
The category, which encompasses all manner of styles, from basic student desk lamps to high-end crystal designs to statuesque floor lamps, accounted for an estimated $1.86 billion at retail, down from $2 billion the year before.
In terms of distribution, the specialty channel maintained its share of the market. That channel includes the home decor superstores, linens and office products superstores, as well as the lighting showrooms and boutiques.
The hardware/home improvement category picked up a little share at the expense of furniture stores and chains, which as a whole continue to struggle. The “other” category, which primarily means pure-play Internet retailers, has also gained share, although this channel is the hardest to track.
As far as designs go, perhaps thanks to the tight economy, consumers seem to be playing it safe these days, and the pendulum has swung back to very traditional styling. Classic and timeless designs continue to perform admirably, although the top merchants in lighting know they have to show the far-out colors, patterned shades and mix of materials.
Such niche segments as full spectrum or natural daylight lamps, and decorative fluorescent table and floor lamps have become stables in the mix at certain major retail outlets, reflecting the consumer’s desire for quality light and energy savings.
The next wave, light-emitting diodes, have slowly made their way, but still aren’t powerful enough (or affordable enough) to make the impact the market had promised.
The downward pressure on prices has challenged vendors to develop innovative ways to make ready-to-assemble table and floor lamps that are shipped in unusually small boxes.