Home, sweet home merchants

Oct 01, 2007 9:30 PM  By

There’s no place like the home market, or multichannel purveyors of furnishings, linens, floor and window coverings, tableware, and kitchen items. The king of this category is Williams-Sonoma, which includes the numerous Pottery Barn titles and West Elm. Home Depot, which acquired Home Decorators Collection in 2006, is another key player.

According to ParadyszMatera, a New York-based media brokerage firm, the home market segment has remained stable for the past two years. The total 12-month active universe is 19.2 million names for the second quarter, up 4% over the same period two years agi.

Mailing lists released in the past year include Crate & Barrel’s furniture spin-off CB2, and Fresh Finds, a kitchenware and home organization book from Harriet Carter that has 19,000 names on its file. And after a two-year absence, the 92,000-name Sure Fit Furniture Covers mailing list is back on the market as of the second quarter.

The home decor lists with the largest 12-month universe counts have not changed over the past year. Williams-Sonoma holds on to the top two spots by virtue of its Pottery Barn title, with a 1.5 million-name file, and Williams-Sonoma’s A Catalog for Cooks, which has a list of 1.2 million customers.

Despite swapping positions in the past year, Domestications (956,000 names), BylaneHome (850,000), and Improvements (800,000), complete the top five mailers in the category.

Through the second quarter, 26% of catalogers offered at least one incentive this year, compared with 25% in last year. Among the most popular incentives is deferred payment, offered by 12% of the home catalogs received in 2007, though that is off slightly from 14% in 2006.

Linensource offered deferred billing with any credit card order. Home Decorators Collection and Home Depot both promoted the incentive with orders of $299 or more placed on its affinity card.

To date, 9% of home mailers offered some sort of discount, the same rate as in 2006. Ballard Designs offered 15% off any order or 15% off orders exceeding $100, while Barrons took 10% off any online orders.

About 6% of the home books offered free shipping in the first half of 2007, including Chef’s catalog (for orders exceeding $99) and Chiasso (with online orders).

House file universe: home catalogs
2Q
2005
3Q
2005
4Q
2005
1Q
2006
2Q
2006
3Q
2006
4Q
2006
1Q
2007
2Q
2007
Total universe 18.4 18.3 19.1 19.8 19.7 19.7 19.6 19.3 19.2
Home catalogs with the largest active-buyer files
Rank List name 2Q 2007 house file universe Average order
1 Pottery Barn 1,467,717 $230
2 Williams-Sonoma 1,145,703 $75
3 Domestications 937,333 $100
4 BrylaneHome 849,521 $90
5 Improvements 799,955 $63