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Chicago International Casual Furniture Market

September 18, 2009

Just in the nic of time for the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market, ASID Eye On Design, reported on the "Luxury Tracking Report: Consumer Spending Trends" survey conducted by marketing consulting firm Unity Marketing, a year-over-year increase in spending on luxury goods and services suggests that affluent consumers’ economic confidence is bouncing back. For a majority of those surveyed, the worst of the recession appears to be over, with 48 percent predicting that their personal financial situations will improve over the next 12 months.

According to Stephani Miller of the Custom Home Magazine, "Although many economists predict the economic and housing industry recoveries will be long and slow, glimmers of a rebound are emerging. The good news for the custom home building segment is that even though financial portfolios have been hit hard and lending institutions are continuing their tight grip on credit (particularly for large construction loans), affluent consumers still have money. They are being more selective in their spending choices, however.

In particular, affluent homeowners’ spending on outdoor living products—such as patio furniture, grills, lighting accents, fencing, outdoor stoves and fireplaces, garden shelters, water features, and decorative accents—has increased steadily in the past two years. Luxury outdoor living purchases among those surveyed rose 22.6 percent from 2007 to 2008 and climbed another 33 percent in first quarter 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

"Affluents have cut back on travel and dining out, but they are spending more on the home overall," says luxury marketing expert Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. Many of the affluent consumers surveyed in Unity’s report have made significant improvements to their houses and are now turning their attention outside the home, creating living spaces that allow them to enjoy the outdoors."

Hopefully, this news will encourage lots of activity next week in Chicago.

These are my outside views…Marcia Blake