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by Laurie Converse
Exclusive: State Of The Industry Regional Price Point Survey
Introduction and Method
Cotton & Foam are still the most popular type of futon mattresses. Here are the average prices for a full size, 8" mattress from east to west.
The top bar in each region is the average Import price and the bottom is the American made. The American product always realizes a higher price, with the biggest spread in the Mid West at $131.46, almost 50% more than the import price point.
Northeast: The 1999 Futon Life Survey found price points for futon components in the northeast region to be at or around the national average. In fact, price points for all of the futon mattress and frames that we surveyed proved to be within five dollars of the national average price point for these products. While the national average for all three mattresses was $197, the northeast average was $199 and while the national average for all three futon frames was $270, the average in the northeast was $274. The northeast average for an ensemble package set was $476.
Southeast: In the southeast, the most popular price points for Cotton-Foam and Innerspring futon mattresses held close to the national average price points. For cotton-polyester mattresses, however, retailers in the southeast were able to command a price point that is $13 above the national average. Prices for frames, however, did not appear as strong when compared with the rest of the nation. With the exception of imported futon frames, the average price points for futon frames surveyed were reported to be approximately five to ten percent below the national average. Another surprise for the southeast was that while the national price point for futon ensembles is $473, this region’s price point lagged at $403.
Midwest: Our survey informed us that component prices in the midwest states are likely to be similar to the national average prices. Futon mattress prices in the midwest wavered very little from the national prices. Frame prices varied to a slightly greater degree as imported futon frames generally sold for $10 less and American-made frames sold for about $10 more than the country as a whole. Finally, ensemble, set prices outstripped the national average by forty-one dollars or almost ten percent at $514.
South: Information gathered regarding futon retailers in the south was among the most indicative. Price points in the south trailed price points of the rest of the country at almost every product surveyed. Prices ran a full ten to twenty percent below the national average. One component in this market was an exception, however. Futon covers were able to sustain a price point that strongly reflected the national price point. The ensemble price point for the south was the lowest of all the regions at $392.
Futon cover pricing seems to have a trend all its own. This may be due in part to the popularity of factory selects in the northeast, southeast and south, and the popularity of custom covers in the midwest and west.
As our survey research progressed, and as our data began to inform us regarding the big price point picture from coast to coast, one thing became clear. The pricing trends that we noticed among futon mattresses, frames, and ensembles did not hold true for the pricing of futon covers. For example, in the northeast, where futon pricing tended to be close to the national average, cover prices were found to be a full twelve dollars below the national average. With an average of $86 being paid for this product, the twelve dollar difference represents a fourteen percent dip below the national price. Another example was displayed in the south region, where other prices fell solidly below national prices. Surprisingly, the average price point for covers in the south was within one dollar of the national average.
Over the past few years the price point for a futon frame, futon mattress and futon cover ensemble has slowly but steadily risen. Our results show the West with the best point and the South with the lowest.
We concluded, therefore, that futon cover pricing seems to have a trend all its own. This may be due in part to the popularity of factory selects (close outs) in the northeast, southeast and south, and the popularity of custom futon covers in the midwest and west. Unsolicited comments were noted as we conducted our survey, and when the question was asked “what is your most popular price point for futon covers?” many retailers answered, “that would be the selects at $99,” or “we only carry selects at $69,”. These futon retailers tended to be in the east and south. Others answered noting their customers’ preference for custom selections, or would offer information about the large number of custom slip-covers their customers choose from. These futon store owners tended to be in the midwest and west regions.
In summary, our results provide conclusive evidence that there are definite, measurable differences in pricing across the nation for similar futon components. We discovered that retail price points in the northeast, southeast and midwest tended to be set around the national average price points. In the south we discovered that futon components generally sold for an average of forty-two dollars less than the national average. In the west, however, prices generally ran an average of twenty-nine dollars above the national average price point. Finally, we learned that futon cover pricing represents a pricing trend not reflected by the other components.
Laurie Converse is a freelance writer here in Providence. This is her first in a series of articles for Futon Life focusing on business trends and pricing issues in our category.
West: The strength of the futon market in the west was clearly demonstrated by our survey. The price point for each type of futon mattress we sampled was approximately twenty dollars above the price point of the rest of the nation. Frames, likewise, supported higher price points. Most notably, metal futon frames sustained a twenty-five percent higher price. The average ensemble price point for the West was the highest of all the regions at $539.
A Note about Futon Covers
During the month of November, Futon Life surveyed over one hundred futon retailers nationwide. From the Big Apple to the Golden Gate Bridge, from the Lone Star State to the Windy City, futon dealers across the country were asked a brief set of questions regarding specific price points. We wanted to uncover regional similarities and differences regarding price points in the futon marketplace. Whether you find our results surprising or predictable, our sampling reveals the most up-to-the-minute pricing trends.
As we began our research, we first asked futon retailers about their current prices on three types of full size futon mattresses. Store owners were asked for their most popular price point for a cotton and foam futon mattress, a cotton and polyester futon mattress, and an innerspring futon mattress.
Our inquiry also surveyed price points for three types of full size, bifold futon frames. Respondents were asked to report their most popular price point for an imported solid hardwood futon an American made solid hardwood futon frame and we also discovered their most popular price point for metal futon frames. Let me add that we did not qualify the metal frames as promotional or otherwise.
We then asked futon retailers to tell us the price at which they sold the highest number of futon covers. This data was among the most intriguing, since the responses we gathered ran contrary to other national trends.
Finally, we asked retailers to report their most popular price point for a complete futon ensemble set, consisting of a full-size bifold futon frame, and a typical mattress and futon cover.
The Five Regions
In order to trace regional similarities and differences, we looked at the country in five distinct sections. In our Northeast section, we included the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island as well as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The Southeast included the states of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, and South and North Carolina. Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin comprised our Midwest region. The Southern region was determined to be Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. We considered our West region to include the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
Futon Component Prices from Sea to Shining Sea