Faucets, by the numbers

Channel analysis
Year-over-year sales of faucets declined 10.8% in the 12 months from September 2010 through August 2011, according to consumer research from the Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group. The group estimated total sales during that period in excess of $1.2 billion. Unit volume also declined year over year, but only 4.6% — indicating consumers are shopping for bargains, and finding them.

Warehouse home centers continue to be the primary source for faucets, at 65.4% of sales, but specialty stores and mass merchants showed growth over the past two years. Hardware stores regained some lost dollar share, but unit share remained flat.

Product attributes
Chrome is king. NPD data also showed the growth and popularity of faucets with pullout spray spouts, stainless steel/nickel/pewter finishes, single-handle kitchen faucets and double-handle bathroom sink options. The bathroom was the most common room for a faucet project, maintaining a steady lead over kitchens in the past three years.

Demographic analysis
Faucet consumers spread themselves relatively evenly across age and income brackets. Low-income consumers showed a jump in 2011, as did the wealthiest. The 55-to-64 age group was the only one to show two consecutive years of increases, though very slightly in 2011.

Purchase motivators
When fashion combines with function, brand tends to rise in importance as a purchase motivator. So it is with faucets. “Brand” ran slightly ahead of “price” as a reason for purchase in 2009 and 2010, but was eclipsed by “price” in 2011.

Methodology: NPD data are based on monthly tracking of more than 30 home improvement-related  categories and 30,000 opt-in consumers.
*2011 data reflect the period September 2010 through August 2011.
**Key: WHC: warehouse home center; MM: mass merchant; DS: department store; SS: specialty store; HS: hardware store
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