Monday, November 23, 2015

Home Sizes on the Rise

With so much interest in tiny homes and urban living, it may come as a bit of a surprise that new homes are actually increasing in size.  According to a study by Furniture Today and the US Census Bureau, the average home built in 2014 was 2,657 square feet, a 2.3% increase over 2013's 2,598 square feet.  Of the 620,000 new homes built in 2014, 45% of them had 4 or more bedrooms, 36% had 3 or more bathrooms, and 31% were over 3,000 square feet.

While the average home size for the entire country is increasing, it is interesting to note that different regions are growing at different rates.  Leading the pack is the Midwest which experienced 7.3% increase in size last year and a 13.6% increase since 2010.  However, despite such large growth, especially in the last year, the Midwest still has the smallest homes in the country.  The average new home in the Midwest last year was 2,574 square feet, up from 2,398 square feet in 2013 and 2,265 square feet in 2010.

Following the Midwest comes the South, which now has the largest homes in the country at 2,711 square feet for homes built in 2014.  While this is only a 0.8% increase over 2013's 2,689 square feet, it is a 13.2% increase over 2010's 2,393 square feet.

Out West houses have been growing at a much more stable rate with the average new home in 2014 at 2,603 square feet.  This was a 3.2% increase over 2013's 2,523 square feet, and a 9.1% increase over 2010's 2,386.

While the Midwest, South, and West are seeing much larger houses getting built each year, it may come as a surprise that the Northeast, which had the largest homes being built in 2010 at 2,613 square feet, has pretty much stayed level.  In 2014 the average new home was 2,617 square feet, a 0.7% drop from 2013's 2,635 square feet.

With home sizes getting larger in 3 out of 4 regions of the US, this can translate to consumers buying more furniture while also looking for larger individual pieces of furniture.  According to data collected by in the first six months of 2015, the most popular dimensions for a sofa are 87" long, with a depth of 39.4", and a height of 37.6".  When it comes to sectional sofas, consumers are looking for a footprint of 116.1" by 98.3" with a height of 37.7".

If you are a furniture manufacturer, it's important to keep up on housing trends and make sure that the furniture you are making meets the demands of today's consumers.  If you are spending all of your time chasing down past due receivables, it's hard to stay on top of what really matters.  Let DSA Factors handle your receivables for you, not only will you save time and money, but we will also improve your cash flow.

* In this study, the Midwest includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The Northeast includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia. The West includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Patios: The Most Popular Outdoor Space

In a recent survey done by Casual Living, it was found that one third of all Americans use their patios.  Six out of ten houses have a patio, and just over half of all houses have a porch, while slightly less than half of them have a deck.  When it comes to condos, four out of ten have a patio, three out of ten have a balcony, while porches and decks each appear in two out of ten condos.  For apartment dwellers, almost half of them have a balcony, while just less than a third of them have a patio, and two out of ten have a porch.

When it comes to how people use their patios, or other outdoor spaces, nine out of ten people use their outdoor spaces for relaxing, while nearly three quarters of Americans enjoy reading outside.  Also popular are grilling, entertaining, and gardening with each activity being done by approximately seven out of ten Americans.  About half of all Americans will have family meals, use a computer or tablet, and listen to music outside.  Three in ten Americans enjoy sunbathing in their outdoor spaces, and nearly a quarter of all Americans use their outdoor spaces for playing with their children.

While just over four in ten Americans made upgrades to their outdoor spaces in the second half of 2014 and first half of 2015, six in ten Americans either have or are planning on making upgrades in the second half of 2015, with another two in ten planning on making upgrades in 2016.  The most common upgrade by far is planting vegetation with over three quarters of all people who either made or plan to make upgrades planting new trees, flowers, or other vegetation.  Next up is maintaining a deck or patio.  Nearly half of all people who already made upgrades performed maintenance work on their deck or patio, with another third planning to do so.  Other popular improvements include buying furniture and outdoor accessories, installing lighting, buying a grill, buying some sort of shade device, and performing other landscaping work.  The least popular improvement is installing a new swimming pool.

When it comes to outdoor furniture, dining furniture is the most popular, closely followed by conversation groups, and then other seating options such as benches or hammocks, and finally fire pits.  While alternative seating options and fire pits may be the least popular furniture choices, they are gaining in popularity as more people plan to purchase them than have already done so.  Fewer people plan to buy outdoor dining furniture as have already done so, while conversation groups are remaining stable with just as many people planning on purchasing them as those who have recently done so.

With outdoor accessories it should come as no surprise that the most popular items are potted plants and flowers, with nearly nine in ten consumers who accessorize purchasing these.  Just over half of people accessorizing will purchase decorative pillows, and a little less than half will purchase outdoor rugs.  Tableware and wall decor are each purchased by about three in ten people accessorizing, while two in ten purchase statues.

For lighting, strands or strings of light bulbs are the most popular with just over half of all consumers using them.  Only slightly less popular is hard-wired fixtures.  After that about a third of people use lanterns and a quarter of people use landscape lighting.  The less popular options include portable lamps, torches, candles, lighting under shading devices, and solar lights.

Finally with shading, a roof or umbrella is the most prevalent from of shade with a little less than half of all consumers using each.  For umbrellas, table umbrellas are about twice as popular as free standing umbrellas.  About one in ten Americans will use a tree for shade.  The other less popular options include pergolas, awnings, gazebos, curtains, and screens.

With all these improvements being made in front and back yards across the country, if you manufacture products for the outdoors it is important that you have the ability to handle large orders if you want your merchandise to be stocked with major retailers.  Let DSA Factors help you grow your business.  With nearly 30 years of experience in the furniture and accessories industries, we have the ability to provide you with the cash flow you need while also managing and insuring all of your receivables.  Give us a call today at 773-248-9000 and find out how we can help your business grow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

On The Move

Americans are on the move according to a recent survey done by Furniture Today and Apartment Therapy.  Nearly 60% of Millenials and 40% of both Generation X and Baby Boomers plan on moving in the next three years.  In fact, nearly a quarter of all Millennials plan on moving in the next year.  While 27% of the people planning to move would like to move out of state, not everyone is looking for a change of scenery.  83% of city dwellers plan on staying in the city, while 66% of suburbanites plan on staying in the burbs.  The real change comes from people living in rural settings, only 52% of them wish to remain in the countryside, while 28% of them want to move into a city, and the remaining 20% wish to move to the suburbs.

For the most part Americans want to live in houses.  Nine out of ten Millennials say their next home will be a house.  This number drops to eight out of ten for Generation X and six out of ten for Baby Boomers whose next move will put them in a house.  Condos are the next most popular place to live.  While only 3% of Millennials wish to live in a condo, 10% of Generation X and 26% of Baby Boomers say their next home will be a condo.  Apartments are not very popular right now, only 5% of Millennials want to move to an apartment, and this number drops to 4% for Generation X and 2% for Baby Boomers.  In fact four out of ten renters plan to own their next home, and a third of apartment dwellers plan on moving into a house next.

When it comes to the size of a home, about half of all Americans plan on moving into similarly sized home as their current home.  Almost half of all Millennials are looking to upsize, with about a third of Generation X and a fifth of Baby Boomers looking to upsize as well.  For those looking to upsize into a larger home, they are looking for another 550 square feet on average.  Not too many Americans are looking to downsize, but it should come as no surprise that downsizing is most popular with Baby Boomers, just over a third of them would like a smaller home.

With all of these people on the move it means that there will be plenty of opportunity for the furniture and housewares industries to cash in on these movers.  If you are a manufacturer or importer it is important that you are prepared to serve these growing numbers of transient Americans.  Let DSA Factors help you by managing your receivables and giving you the cash flow you need to grow your business.  Call us today at 773-248-9000 to find out how DSA can help your business grow.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Where does your kid sleep?

After my two year old son took a nap on a pile of clothes in my closet this afternoon, it made me think, where do most kids sleep after they leave the crib?  It turns out that twin sized beds are by far the most popular size bed for any age group with four out of every ten kids sleeping in a twin size bed according to research by Kids Today.

Twin size beds are especially popular for younger children.  After that, full size beds come next with 20% of all children sleeping in them.  Of course these numbers tend to shift as children get older.  By the age of 12, 30% of all children are sleeping in full size beds, while twin size beds only appear in 37% of children's rooms.  While at the age of 15, only 29% of children sleep in twin size beds, but full size beds don't gain any of the market with teens, instead 11% of teens sleep in queen size beds.  Only about 5% of younger kids will sleep in a queen size bed.

The other type of bed that is popular among all ages of children is the bunk bed.  While not quite as popular with children under 2 or over 12, with only 11% sleeping in bunk beds.  Around 15% of children between 2 and 11 will sleep in a bunk bed, including my son when he's not busy sleeping in closets!

Also popular are trundle beds and loft beds which hold a combined 10% of all children at bedtime, with trundle beds more popular with the younger kids, and loft beds more popular with older kids.  The only other bed that is popular is the toddler bed which holds about 11%  of all children under the age of 2, but pretty much no children after that.

Moving beyond the size of the bed, most parents prefer to buy their children more traditional beds over beds that have a more kid-friendly style, especially as the parents get older.  For parents under the age of 35, only a third of parents will get their kids a bed with a kid-friendly design.  For parents 45 and up, less than a quarter of them will get their kids a bed with a kid-friendly design.

The other important factors in choosing a bed for your child is what its made of and where its made.  Most parents prefer to buy solid wood beds.  For families making over $50,000 a year, 6 out of 10 parents plan to buy their kids a solid wood bed.  But even more important than what its made from is where it is made.  Most parents believe that it is very important to buy a bed that is made in America, especially as children get older.  Three quarters of all parents with children over the age of 15 find it important to have a bed that is made in America.

When it comes to case goods, 83% of parents are likely to purchase matching case goods at the same time that they buy their child a bed.  In fact, 27% of parents say that they are very likely to do this.  This number increases among more affluent parents and parents in the Northeast.  38% of all families making $100,000 or more a year say that they are very likely to buy matching case goods, while 37% of parents in the Northeast also say they are very likely to purchase matching case goods.

With $5.7 billion spent on kids furniture in 2014, it is important to know who exactly is buying this furniture.  When it comes to beds, it is almost always the child's parents.  For families making less than $50,000 a year, 78% of the beds are purchased by the parents, with 20% purchased by grandparents.  For families making over $50,000 a year, 87% of beds are purchased by the parents with only 10% being purchased by grandparents.

If you are a manufacturer or importer of children's furniture it is important to keep up with the current trends in the industry.  Let DSA Factors help you out by factoring your receivables.  Let us use our experience to handle all the credit checking and collection work, while also improving your cash flow and insuring your receivables.  You have more important things to worry about, why waste time worrying about receivables.

Friday, October 9, 2015

What is the Chip?

By now everyone probably has received new credit cards with an EMV chip in them.  That is because on October 1st the rules changed for how credit card fraud is handled.  As a consumer you have nothing worry to worry about as you are never responsible for fraud, but as a merchant or a bank it is important to understand how the new rules work.  As of October 1st, merchants are now responsible for fraud if they allow a customer to swipe a card using the magnetic strip when the card has a chip on it.  Banks however are still responsible for fraud on cards that do not have chips on them yet.  So it is important if you are a merchant that you purchase new readers and require your customers to use the chip if you don't want to be responsible for fraudulent transactions.

The way the chip works is that it creates a unique transaction code every time it is inserted into a credit card reader, while the magnetic strip that we have always used simply contains static data that can easily be copied.  As a result, it is nearly impossible to counterfeit cards that use a chip.  Now of course there is a lot of expense to this new technology.  The credit card companies have been sending out new cards to all their customers, and these cards cost a lot more to produce than the old magnetic strip cards did.  For merchants the major expense will be in purchasing new card readers and training employees in how to use them.

Now if you are wondering just how serious credit card fraud is, in 2012 there were worldwide losses of $11.3 billion, with nearly half of that coming from the US.  That year in the US the banks lost $3.4 billion to fraud, while merchants lost another $1.9 billion.  The United States is the only country in the world where credit card fraud is growing each year.  So while these chips might be adding more expense to businesses, if it can reduce these losses then it would be well worth the investment.

If you are wondering if these chips really work, all you need to do is look at the data.  These chips have been in use since 1992 and are used in 80 countries.  Canada adopted the chips in 2008.  In 2009 they reported CAD$142 million in fraud, but by 2013 that number had dropped to only CAD$29.5 million.  The same effect was experienced in England where losses have decreased by 67% since chips were rolled out in 2004.

Of course there is also an added benefit to consumers when they use the chip.  Because it is tougher to create counterfeit cards, it is also harder to fall victim to identity theft.  So consumers can shop with more confidence, as they no longer need to worry about data breaches, such as the one that happened at Target in 2013.  While the Target breach got a lot of publicity, and several other big box stores got publicity as well with their breaches, the fact is there have many more breaches at smaller stores that don't warrant the publicity of a big box store, but overall they have a much greater impact than just one big box store does.  Of course consumers only get this protection if they are shopping at stores that are able to accept chip technology.  This of course gives merchants one more reason to want to upgrade their credit card readers, their customers will probably feel safer shopping in their store if they offer this new technology.  So the next time you go shopping, it may take longer to check out with these new chips, but the added security should be well worth the hassle.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Designing Outdoor Spaces

In a recent survey conducted by Houzz in was found that 80% of homeowners hired professional help to renovate their house last year, with 60% of homeowners making upgrades to outdoor spaces.  The most common upgrade was to patios, decks, and terraces.  With over half of all outdoor spaces being designed for year-round use, it should come as no surprise that the most active regions for improvements to outdoor spaces were in the South and West.

Designers try to create outdoor spaces that will allow you to do everything that you normally do indoors, effectively expanding your home to the outdoor space.  The majority of designers will even try to match the styles and colors you have inside your house to what they are designing for the outside.  They primarily focus on three activities when designing an outdoor space, entertaining, relaxing, and cooking.  For an outdoor space, designers on average spent $6500 on outdoor furniture this year, a 37% increase from last year when they spent only $4750.  They also spent an average of $1500 on grills, up 25% from last year.  But the biggest change is in outdoor accessories such as rugs and wall decor, designers spent $2000 on average for these items, an 82% increase from 2014's average of $1100.  Perhaps the main reason for this tremendous increase in spending on accessories comes from the desire to make outdoor spaces feel more like indoor spaces.

The only items that designers are spending less on this year is outdoor lighting, which at $2000 on average is down 11% from last year.  This is a bit surprising since the most common technology designers incorporate into outdoor spaces is LED lighting.  But as improvements are being made in this new technology, prices for LED lighting have been dropping.

Designers are also focusing less on more traditional uses for outdoor spaces.  Only 57% of designers include plans for gardening in their designs.  45% will include plans for playing with children.  While only 43% will include plans for sunbathing and swimming.  This further emphasizes the idea that the space outside of your home is just an extension of the space inside your home, instead of being a completely separate space devoted to only outdoor activities.

Designers most typically source products for outdoor spaces at trade shows and design centers, but many of them also go to casual furniture stores or look online.  If you are a supplier of casual furniture or accessories it would be a good idea to make sure that you product can be found in these places.  If you need help with cash flow so you can attend the markets, or need to start offering net 30 day terms on your invoices, give DSA Factors a call at 773-248-9000.  We have been working in the furniture and accessories industry since 1987 and are very familiar with the seasonal nature of the casual furniture industry.  Also, look out for us as we will be visiting the Casual Market Chicago from September 16-19.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Outdoor Rugs - The Newest Trend in the Furniture and Accessories Industry

One of the biggest trends in the last few years has been creating outdoor rooms.  While this has been great for the outdoor furniture industry, it has also been great for the outdoor rug industry.  And while the furniture companies are playing it safe with neutral colors, the rug companies are offering colors that hadn't been available in outdoor spaces in the past.

While people do like to have color in the outdoor rooms, its a lot safer to use a neutral colors for the expensive furniture rather than invest all of your money in a bright red couch.  As a result the furniture manufacturers have been sticking to the browns and beiges that they know work.  However, with rugs being much more affordable, only taking up about 10-15% of the price that consumers will pay for an outdoor space, consumers are willing to take more of a chance on introducing color to the space with a bright red rug.

Rug manufacturers have taken notice of this and as durable technologies are improving, they are offering more and more colorful designs in materials durable enough to stand up to the outdoors.  In fact technology has improved so much in recent years that an outdoor rug can look just as nice as an indoor rug.  And since outdoor rugs tend to be much cheaper than indoor rugs, some people are even purchasing outdoor rugs for inside their house.

Of course it isn't just consumers and manufacturers that are excited about outdoor rugs these days, but also outdoor furniture retailers.  These outdoor furniture stores are starting to realize something that their traditional indoor counterparts have known for years.  One of the best ways to increase sales figures by 15% is to sell accessories.  It doesn't require attracting more customers to your store, all you have to do is sell more items to the customers who are already buying.

But just like in a traditional furniture store, outdoor furniture stores need to stage these rugs correctly.  It is important to pair appropriate rugs with outdoor furniture sets so that the customer can get a feel for how their outdoor space will look.  Simply throwing all the rugs into a corner of your store, or pairing a traditional rug with a modern furniture set is not going to help sell rugs to your customers.  However, even if staged properly it might not be the style that your customer is looking for.  It is important that in the same way you would display fabric samples for upholstered furniture, you also need to display different styles and textures for outdoor rugs.

If you are a rug manufacturer, now would be a great time to get into the outdoor rug market.  Or if you already make outdoor rugs, this would be a great time to expand your product line.  This is a fast growing sector of the rug industry, and it hasn't been over-saturated with competition yet.  If you need money to expand your product line, or you can't handle the demand you are experiencing for your current product line, give DSA Factors a call today at 773-248-9000.  We have been specializing in the furniture and accessories industry since 1987.  With our services you can speed up your cash flow and save you time on credit checks and collections so that you can focus on what really matters.