The world textile industry is divided into various segments, and home textiles are a considerably big segment in this industry. Home textiles are way lot different from the textile used in garments. They are made up of special fabrics and materials, and serve an entirely different purpose. It comprises of textiles that can be used at home like carpets, table mats, curtains, bed sheets, and various others. The global home textiles industry is worth billions and billions of US dollars, at present. With demand increasing in the global arena, its market is growing by 9 percent (Compound Annual Growth Rate) CAGR and is expected to reach a $400 billion mark by the year 2020.


The market is divided into various categories, and classifying the products according to the spending habits of consumers is just one out of the many. USA is the biggest market for home textiles in the world, and has a value of over $60 billion. China is the biggest exporter of home textiles in the global home textiles industry. The high quality products, which do not take price into consideration, are traded in the niche market; and economy products, with average quality, are traded in the mass market. There is a vast difference between the two in the global textile industry.


Home textiles for mass market


China leads the world in the production of home textiles for the mass market. The industrial output for home textiles by China was 226.4 billion Renminbi during the period January, 2012 to November, 2012. It is seeing a growth of 14 percent year-on-year since the last 10 years. It majorly exports home textiles to the emerging economies like India, Russia, Brazil, and the ASEAN countries. These countries have a rapidly growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and their standard of living is improving continuously. They have a huge market for home textiles, and China can supply good quality home textiles for a cheaper price.


The country exported home textiles worth US$ 33.3 billion during the period January, 2012 to November, 2012. China saw the export growth of home textiles increasing by a rate of 6 percent year-on-year. Its exports to Brazil, Russia, and India rose by 19.5 percent in the period from January, 2012 to November, 2012, and during the same period its exports to ASEAN countries rose by 18.8 percent. Home textiles exported to these countries are low priced items to a large extent, and give a low profit margin to the traders in China. However, it cannot be denied that this industry has remained successful in creating employment opportunities in the country.

 

Retailing of home textiles in mass markets cannot be presented accurately, because a certain percentage of this market is unorganized. This is especially true for developing countries, which are the biggest consumers of home textiles of this category. Only 6 percent of the overall home textiles market in India is organized, and the remaining part of it is unorganized for which accurate sales figures are difficult to obtain. Similarly, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, and other Asian countries have a large organized market for home textiles. The market is flourishing in this unorganized sector, as consumers' needs are met with limited resources.

 

Mass markets have limited requirements when it comes to home textiles. Good quality and inexpensive products are sought after. In this case, requirements are different from the ones in niche markets, where the product is not the only factor taken into consideration. Textiles of this kind are produced in bulk, and it is easy to find a similar pattern in the market. It can be said that the book is good but the cover is not, in the case of products for mass markets! Profit margin is low in this world, and therefore countries exporting home textiles for mass markets are not able to produce ample of money easily. In 2012, some of the major home textile companies in China reported decline in profit owing to low profit margins.

 

Marketing strategies adopted by home textile companies targeting mass markets are generally simple. They target high sales, as the profit margin is thin in such products. Companies may find ample of competition in this segment, and strategies adopted may result in compromising specific needs to appease a larger target audience. Mass markets for home textiles can be differentiated by geographical locations from others to a certain extent, but it cannot be differentiated on the basis of age, sex, or race of buyers. It has been noticed that mass market brands generally do not focus on securing brand loyalty, but there can be exceptions.


Home textiles for niche market


Niche markets have more demands as compared to the mass markets, and its consumers are willing to pay more in order to get their demands fulfilled. The profit margin in the sale of home textiles to this market is bound to yield higher returns. It has been noticed that the developed countries often focus on home textiles for niche markets. It yields high profit margin. But companies often have to invest in research and development; for example, companies will have to find the right target audience and their requirements. Besides, there is less of competition in this market. Of course, companies will have to keep on upgrading their quality in order to retain their loyal customer base.


Demand for luxury home textiles is growing immensely, and developed countries are focusing on this area of textile business rather than the conventional textiles. India and Istanbul are majorly into the manufacture of bespoke home furnishings and textiles. With an edge over hand-made and custom-made home textiles and furnishings, these countries are attracting the attention of many rich and elite. Designers from all over the world come to these countries for inspiration. UAE is a high-time retailer for bespoke home furnishing. A number of second and third generation entrepreneurs in UAE, who have studied in the western countries, return to their homeland with a vast amount of knowledge and ideas. They understand the importance of catering to the niche markets, and mainly target the western markets that are willing to pay more money for better services.

 

Luxury and bespoke home furnishings are sold the most in developed countries. Of course, the global recession has taken its toll on the industry, but the demand for this product is increasing continuously. John Lewis, a leading fashion retailer, specializes in the sale of luxury and bespoke home furnishing and textiles. It has a huge market for bespoke home textiles in UK and Europe. Italians have a special love for interior design and home textiles. Many luxury home textiles' designers like Jim Thompson, Ralph Lauren, and Nina Campbell have made it big in this industry owing to the growing market for this product in the western countries.


Needs vary with markets, and it is not necessary that a product appreciated and accepted in a certain market may be well-received in other markets, as well. Products designed for the niche market get an advantage over the products designed for mass markets in such a situation. This is because the products of former category are often designed with 'needs' in focus, while the products of the latter category are designed with 'availabilities' in focus. Mass markets, therefore, cost less, but it does not seek to compromise on the requirements of the users either. However, the 'satisfaction' factor is the most fulfilled in home textiles for niche markets.


Market requirements keep changing in the case of all products, and this is also true for home textiles. As the standard of living keeps improving, home textile manufacturers are likely to make more and more elite goods. The line between luxury and bespoke home textiles and classic home textiles is likely to get finer. The mass market may likely see a contraction, and the niche market may expand in size. Developing countries may also indulge in the production of custom-made home textiles, and developed economies may serve mass markets to a large extent, as well.


References:


1.      Thehindu.com

2.      NRF.com

3.      Researchinchina.com

4.      Hstextiles.com.cn

5.      St-andrews.ac.uk

6.      Johnlewispartnership.co.uk

7.      Hometextilestoday.com

8.      Homefashionindia.net