Marketing Council Conducts Consumer Survey
Surveys and Studies
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In the past, this section was called “NEWS NEWS NEWS”. In response to the fact that, for the most part, these stories are not reports generated by Futon Life, we decided to change the name of this section to better describe the actual content. - Editor

FAI's Futon Marketing Council Conducts Consumer Survey

Just weeks ago a consumer survey, conducted by FAI's Futon Marketing Council, and Association PR firm Shandwick, USA, established a benchmark for current consumer awareness of the futon furniture category.
"We are very pleased to report," said Association President David Buechner, "that sixty-two percent of our sample are familiar with futon furniture as a category in the home furnishings industry."
The survey, which polled one thousand random consumers over the age of eighteen, was conducted to discover the consumer's level of awareness and satisfaction with the basic futon sofa-bed.

"A vast majority of our sample, over eighty-three percent, who own or have owned this product, said they were satisfied with their futon furniture," said Joe Tatulli, chairman of the Futon Marketing Council, who coordinates the Association's PR program under the direction of the FAI Board of Directors.
An overview of the survey results will be made available to all FAI members as soon as they are complete, and the complete results of the survey, including all the raw data, will be available upon request to FAI members at a cost of $10.00 each from the Association's office in Chico, CA.

FAI and SSA Announce New Trade Show Agreement

After much debate and intense negotiating a very strong two year agreement was hammered out between the Futon Association International and the Specialty Sleep Association. This agreement will allow SSA members to exhibit at the Futon Expo and still maintain the integrity of their separate Association.

"Our Association will maintain control of the management and operations aspects of the Expo," said David Buechner, FAI President. The agreement carries through to the year 2000 Futon Expo in Orlando.

"This decision has taken both Associations into uncharted waters and we are very excited about the possibilities it will afford all of us," Buechner added.
"We are very excited about this agreement," said SSA trade show chair Carla Williams, who spearheaded the SSA negotiating team. "We are very confident that both trade groups will benefit from the economic and logistical advantages this single show will afford," Williams said.

Both group's leaderships asked for the full support of all their respective members as they continue to move forward and iron out the finer points of the arrangement.

New Survey Shows Younger Consumers Buy More Often, But are Less Satisfied Than Their Older Peers

Windsor, CT - Younger consumers buy furniture more frequently than their elders, but are less satisfied with their store experience and less likely to return, according to a new consumer survey by ADVO, Inc. The survey found that 63 percent of consumers aged 18-34 buy furniture every three years or less, compared to 53 percent of those aged 35-54, and only 33 percent of consumers aged 55 and over. At the same time, only 67 percent of consumers in the 18-34 category were satisfied with the salesperson who sold them their furniture, compared to 80 percent of consumers aged 35 and over. And, only 62 percent of 18-34 year-olds plan to return to the store where they made their purchase, compared to 75 percent in the 35 and over age group.

"Our new study shows that younger consumers are a highly attractive group whose needs are apparently being overlooked by many furniture retailers," said Sheila McCusker, ADVO's Director of Strategic Business Planning. "These consumers are more likely to be repeat furniture buyers and to have a high lifetime customer value. Thus, they should be a key target market. Our findings suggest, however, that furniture retailers are not doing enough to satisfy and retain younger consumers."

ADVO's findings also showed that younger consumers are more price sensitive than their older counterparts. In the 18-34 age group, 58 percent cited "best price" as a key factor in selecting a store, versus only 45 percent of the 55-plus age group. Among these younger consumers, 47 percent listed "low price" as a primary reason for making a purchase, compared to 31 percent in the 35-54 age group and only 20 percent of those 55 and older.

ISPA to Study Feasibility of Flammability Standard

The Board of Trustees of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) has unanimously decided to begin work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to study the feasibility of modifying existing futon mattress flammability standards to address the risk of open-flame ignition.

"Our goal is to respond to consumer needs and improve product safety," says Tony Wolf, ISPA president. He adds, "With the adoption of the 1972 flammability standard, we've successfully reduced mattress fires caused by cigarettes. Through this feasibility study, we can find out if and how modifying the existing standard can help to reduce open-flame ignition of mattresses."
In 1972, when the CPSC established its flammability standard for mattresses used in residential settings, it focused only on cigarette-ignited fires. Since that time, various government agencies and private groups have raised additional concerns about mattress fires caused by open-flame ignition. A recent study, funded by the futon industry, with the National Association of State Fire Marshals, as well as a separate study conducted by the CPSC, show that although the number of deaths and injuries resulting from cigarette ignitions has decreased since the cigarette-ignition standard was established, the risk of mattress fires caused by children playing with matches, lighters or candles in the bedroom.

Wolf commented, "By continuing to educate parents and children about the tragic consequences of bedroom fires, we hope to reduce their incidence by preventing open flames from ever coming into contact with the mattress." As in past years, the SPSC is implementing a consumer education program that underscores keeping matches and lighters away from children and practicing fire-safety precautions in the bedroom. The program will be implemented through outreach to the popular press.


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