|RUG EXECS DELVE INTO CONSUMER DEMAND & BUYING TRENDS
Online sales are picking up at Dynamic Rugs with buyers craving value-driven transitional designs. Shown, Lotus 8146
NEW YORK -- Some area rug executives are seeing a jump in sales despite the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Not only has Covid-19 transformed consumer buying and shopping habits, it has shifted their focus to home as shut-down orders across the U.S. forced many Americans to stay put.
RugNews.com surveys industry players across price points and constructions to uncover the latest buying trends among the new lock-down generation of shoppers. And, not surprisingly, for some, online sales have jumped, with value and price driving many of those sales.
Surya's new Lucknow, hand knotted of viscose and wool, offers high-low designs with lustrous sheen. Shown, 2301
"Mass merchants and home centers have seen e-commerce explode over the past 90 days -- It is understood that the rate of increase is a temporary phenomenon, but we do anticipate that some new consumer habits have been formed," Satya Tiwari, president of Surya, told RugNews.com. "Covid-19 accelerated the existing shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce, and e-commerce will not fully let go of the share it has taken in 2020."
From a trend perspective, area rug players say that value, comfort, warmth and easy-to-design-with area rugs are proving the major drivers of today's cautious home-bound buyers. However, several are reporting that a segment of buyers is also seeking higher quality designs as they fine-tune their interiors.
Momeni's new Lemieux et Cie collaboration features trending global styling in earthy color palettes, and the hand-knotted wool Doukkala (shown, design 02) offers plush Moroccan inspired looks.
Among the highlights: Dynamic Rugs expects consumers to appreciate enduring, quality designs even more today. Feizy anticipates its Fine rugs, cozy looks and warm colors to trend. Kaleen is banking on the continued demand for its natural fiber broadloom and outdoor performance options. Mohawk Home anticipates consumers to seek out textural, easy-to-decorate with styles -- along with new anti-microbial qualities. Momeni sees warm looks and functionality as keys to success going forward. Oriental Weavers says value is the biggest driver of sales during the coronavirus crisis. And at Surya consumers are looking for soft yarns, textured and distressed looks, and plush and soft low-pile designs.
Below RugNews.com interviews more than half a dozen rug executives to explore the price points and styles driving area rug sales as states across the country slowly ease stay at home orders and consumers continue to shelter in place.
Dynamic Rugs' Wingo collection of geometric designs (shown, 7956) are made of soft polypropylene and shrink polyester.
Dynamic Rugs, which in a typical year showcases its new spring area rug products at New York Home Fashion and Las Vegas markets, has seen e-commerce sales continue and notes that as states ease pandemic response restrictions, big box retailers are ready to move.
"Our e-commerce sales and online accounts are up," Matthew Rouhanian, founder, told RugNews.com. "As states are opening back up, we're seeing orders pick back up from our big box retailers. And they're all grateful that we're fully stocked and ready to ship because the demand is definitely there.
"A lot of the big box retailers have told us that their stores that have opened back up have lines around the corner. People are ready to spend money and be back out there," he said.
Dynamic Rugs' new Refine (4635) offers an understated palette of neutrals, machine made of shrink polyester and viscose.
Adds Anoosha Rouhanian, "People are definitely ready to invest in their homes -- their sanctuaries. We have noticed that there's an uptick in neutral colors again; people are gravitating towards warm, cozy, safe ambiances, and that coincides with neutral colors more than it does with pop fashion colors."
At Dynamic Rugs, which introduced a record number of new products this spring, transitional designs continue to be the strongest sellers. "While certain trends can be episodic, transitional motifs are timeless," she continued. "Similarly, in terms of color, people are appreciating more enduring choices rather than what may be just a current trend. Given that people may be a bit more frugal with their spending, they are looking to spend money on something that is sustainable and long-lasting, both in quality and in appearance -- they are likely to go with classic, neutral colors."
Feizy introduces the new Joss collection of felted wool striated designs. Shown, 8835F
Feizy Rugs expects area rug sales to rebound fairly quickly after stay-at-home orders are lifted across the country and as consumers and buyers feel comfortable venturing out. In fact, the company has continued to introduce its latest rugs to buyers digitally, to keep them fresh with new designs.
"We will continue to see a shift to e-commerce buying, which tends to be more moderate priced goods, until clients are comfortable being back out in traditional shopping environments," said Justin Yeck, head of omnichannel sales and product development at Feizy. "We are seeing people wanting to be comforted at the moment. Cozy wools and warmer colors have been trending from our Berkeley and new Joss and Percy collections. And, the mix of contemporary furniture with traditional patterns remains a strong trend as well."
Feizy reworks antique designs in modern hues in its new machine-made Percy collection.
A category the company expects to snap back will be its Feizy Fine rugs. "Clients have been home bound for a period of time and thinking about the projects they can complete but need help on. Once we see things come back we will see a surge in designer projects that include finer rugs."
Kaleen's new all natural Pure Life broadloom collection, Oak Grove pictured, offers modernized category updates.
Kaleen, which recently completed its third production facility in India, has focused its 2020 introductions on two key directions: a growing appetite for broadloom designs and outdoor area rugs (read full story)
"Kaleen's design direction for this season is focused on increasing our outdoor and machine-loomed collections and working on getting the word out on our new, all-natural Pure Life custom rugs and broadloom, which are now in stock," Monty Rathi, COO, told RugNews.com.
"Deck and patios are more and more like an extension of the home: from televisions and heaters to ceiling fans, we see the outdoors mimic the indoors, and rug trends are no different.
"For 2020, we have seen a push in simple geometric patterns and colors as well as some more traditional type designs, but with a distressed look. A perfect example of this would be our Tierra collection which has been inspired by the ancient art of the southern hemisphere in soft earth tones with accents of sky blues and deep charcoals.
"Businesses around the world have suffered but we remain optimistic -- life will move forward and become a new type of normal, one of togetherness, compassion and hope," Rathi said.
Kaleen grows its popular indoor-outdoor Zuma Beach range and expects the outdoor category to be a big seller for 2020. Shown, ZUM02
Mohawk Home anticipates easy-to-decorate with neutrals to lead rug buying decisions in 2020. Shown, Archibald
Mohawk Home has continued to operate its U.S. manufacturing facility at around 60 percent capacity and has seen continued demand from essential retailers as consumers look to spruce up their spaces (read more here).
"Being at home has made people decorate and do some fixer uppers around the house," Bart Hill, senior VP, Mohawk Home, told RugNews.com. "So we have seen some positive benefits as buyers are trying improvements in their spaces.
"We don't see a tremendous amount of change in the trends or styling, but certain attributes, such as antimicrobial, will become more important. People will have the propensity to look more at those attributes, and certainly the easy care and the clean feature -- anything a rug offer from the standpoint of this health crisis we are going through -- is going to be even more important."
From Mohawk Home's Karastan rug division, the Tryst collection is crafted of durable, new generation polyester shrink and viscose yarns. Shown, Botan in multi
"For us, area rug designs are going to be more about textures and less about print and pattern," Hill said of consumer directions. "It's more about texture now, big yarns and small yarns. How do you get a lot going on in rugs without a lot of design? And the way Mohawk does this is with yarn variations, shiny with dull, big yarns with small, real tiny yarns with real fat ones. Those texture differentials in more solid tonal colors that are easy to decorate around are the biggest trend.
"We do a large variety of constructions using our SmartStrand yarn system in the Karastan line and those have done really well for us. Today, it is more about being easy to decorate around, and offering some value through different textures, whether that is high-low or mixed yarns.
Hill pointed out that while Made in the U.S. has been a focus of 90 percent of the company's area rug sales, he expects a renewed interest because of the supply chain issues laid bare during the global coronavirus pandemic as countries around the globe placed lockdown restrictions on residents and businesses.
Momeni's Argan collection from its Lemieux et Cie collaboration features hand-woven jute and wool designs inspired by African mud cloth motifs.
"Pre-Covid we were working with an economy on the upswing and initially warmer tones were a response to that positivity," said Reza Momeni, principal. "These trends will continue to move forward in response to individuals' increased attention toward making a beautiful, comfortable and functional home."
Indeed, Momeni had presented a number of trends and designs the company was working on prior to pre-Covid, including its new Lemieux et Cie label of hand-made natural rugs in earthy tones which ticks many of the trend boxes (read more
"We feel pretty strongly that these trends will be even more important as the nation moves through this crisis. In particular, we're forecasting a move toward warmer tones such as warm grays/beiges, earthy reds and golden yellows. Tribal patterns remain a trend but are moving toward more sophisticated inspirations such as Kuba textiles utilizing natural fibers. Millennial Pink continues in stride but will experience a makeover with a Desert Deco edge that focuses upon super soft textiles such as velvet and Momeni's Suave Shag. We will also see neutrals to continue to play an important role - their diversity allows them to be chic yet functional within a wide range of price points," Momeni said.
Momeni expects its washable River collection from its Erin Gates program to be popular choices going forward.
"Being at home 24 hours a day places a microscope on things that need upgrade, fixing, or re-alignment. The living room has become even more of a focus of the home as the family works together to move through social isolation -- they need a comfortable but pretty space in which to function.
Also, the kitchen. Food trends are focused on the home cook and home cooking and that increased time in the kitchen now demands the same functional and beautiful focus that the living room does. As a result, we will see more individuals purchasing rugs for the kitchen which will move forward the industry's focus upon diverse technology in development of washable textiles such as our Erin Gates River and Easton rugs -- they're machine washable, made from recycled plastic bottles and highly durable."
Nourison's Malta collection from its Kathy Ireland label features Old World motifs made of silky and simple-to-care for fibers. Shown, MAL10 Cloud
At Nourison, which is currently hosting a series of digital spring market events, the current Covid crisis has resulted in consumers turning online to purchase area rugs and accents. "E-commerce is expected to continue to drive sales, as the current environment is driving consumers to shop online," said Giovanni Marra, director of marketing and digital strategies, Nourison. "We have seen an uptick in demand and sales for area rugs and pillows.
Nourison anticipates value and easy-care designs to drive 2020 sales. Shown, Rustic Textures 15
"Value, design and easy care are what consumers are looking for. Our value collections at affordable prices will drive sales in 2020." Popular choices at Nourison include its Amore shag collection of 100 percent polypropylene rugs; the Malta collection by Kathy Ireland (hand-loomed of 90 percent polypropylene and 10 percent chenille); the ombre-like Maxell range (made of 100 percent polyester); and Nourison's cut-pile power-loomed Rustic Textures assortment.
Oriental Weavers grows its dense and plush Atlas collection (shown, 747e), which mixes lustrous and matte yarns.
"The increase in the number of online orders per day has been incredible," OW's director of design Mandi Williams, said. "Value is the biggest driver right now due to the fact that the retailers currently open and doing business are mainly online and home improvement retailers."
Williams noted that OW typically sells higher qualities and price points to specialty retailers and furniture stores, many of which were forced to close their doors since early March due to government orders, but that online and home improvement trend toward value price points.
Oriental Weavers hand-crafted Malabar (45302, pictured) offers classic motifs in muted color palettes.
She also notes a focus on comfort. "With so many people staying home they are seeing the importance of creating a comfortable space for themselves and their families. Consumers are updating colors and materials and making changes to the spaces they are now spending much more time enjoying. Hopefully this will lead to increased sales in all things home improvement from rugs to furniture to accessories."
Oriental Weavers, which released its Spring 2020 Trend Book expects five key trends to shape the remainder of 2020, among them are a focus on organic looks, neutral tactile pieces and globally inspired looks (read the full story).
Surya's Lucknow collection, hand-knotted of viscose and wool, offers tonal high-low designs.
Surya kicked off its spring introductions digitally with a new 2020 catalog showcasing more than 1,000 rugs and home decor products (read full story) and has seen a boom in online sales. The company expects buyers to gravitate toward promotional priced rugs but also sees an opportunity for retailers to target older shoppers, who often prefer higher quality designs.
"Trusted retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowe's are working to capitalize on this moment through increased online promotion of rugs across all styles and price points," Surya's Satya Tiwari said. "Promotional pricing is necessary right now (as it was 10-12 years ago), but this is also an opportunity to grow sales in better qualities and slightly higher price points. Gen X and Baby Boomers spend more money on rugs than Millennials and Gen Z do and mass merchants could gain market share by promoting to not only Gen Z and Millennials, but by also embracing the new e-commerce business of more upscale, older shoppers."
Surya's plush Machu Picchu features hand-woven wool tribal designs.
Tiwari explains that larger retailers are looking for extreme value in mainstream color trends: grays, lighter ivories, taupes, and blues. But, adds, "We are also seeing the emergence of green and red into the mass merchant world. And, buyers are looking for soft yarns, textured and distressed looks, shags, plush machine wovens, as well as low profile/soft constructions."