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NPD finds consumers still entertaining this holiday

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — With the holiday season officially underway, North American market research company NPD has reported its findings on consumers’ holiday entertaining purchases.

The group’s Consumer Tracking Service, which culls data from the past 12 months ending Oct. 2012, found that 63% of housewares consumers enjoy hosting parties in their homes.

“It’s holiday time again, and consumers are ritualistically preparing their homes to entertain this holiday season. Products that furnish seasonal touches and sets that satisfy their need for value are on the menu this year,” said Debra Mednick, executive director of the NPD Group’s home business.

Research shows that though there is a slight increase throughout the years, fewer than half of all housewares items sold are purchased as gifts for someone else. Nevertheless, gift sales of cookware and dinnerware have both increased in share since last year, with cookware being the largest category (40%) with respect to gift-giving dollars within housewares.

Overall, dollar sales of kitchen linens are down, but dining linens are up 5% compared to last year. Kitchen towel sets and towel potholder sets grew by 9% and 24%, respectively. Tablecloths, napkins and placemat/napkin sets all showed growth. Purchases of these for use during the holiday increased 11% in dollars while purchases made for no special occasion increased just slightly.

“Across housewares categories, sets now account for a larger share of market dollars than individual pieces,” added Mednick. “Rather than spending a premium on individual pieces, consumers can get everything they need in a neat package with the added benefit of saving some money.”

NPD’s Retail Tracking Service, which culls data from the past 12 months ending Oct. 2012, found that the top 10 selling dinnerware patterns were winter or holiday-themed. Sets went up 5%, but the formal segment also showed growth with dollar increases of 21%.

The research also showed that sets of beverageware are outpacing the overall category, which is down compared to last year. Wine glasses and serveware such as pitchers, carafes and punch bowls are outperforming as well. Multi-piece flatware sets account for more than 80% of dollars and are outpacing the category as well. The casual segment accounts for about three-quarters of total sales.

Dollar sales for bakeware are up 5%, with value packs and casserole, baking dishes and muffin pans driving much of that growth and accounting for more than a third of total sales. Cookware sets and open stock options account for the majority of the category dollars. Highest performing segments so far this year have been sauce pans, pressure cookers, stir frys/woks, steamers and PTFE/PFOA free products.

Category sales of cutlery are down slightly over last year, but some notable areas with double-digit dollar growth are carving/chef knives, cutlery with soft/comfort grips, 10-piece cutlery sets and eco-friendly cutting boards.

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