2012 Celebrations, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. Image courtesy BBC and Miguel Villagran,Getty Images.
Happy New Year to all you readers of Asmara’s Best Rugs Blog. Thank you for doubling our readership every two months in this, our first year! We at Asmara wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, inspiring, rewarding and love filled 2012.
Today it was a sunny 47F in Boston and many more people were out walking in the Arnold Arboretum than you would expect on a Sunday in January. Could this be a manifestation of New Year’s resolutions to spend more time with nature and to exercise more!
Now is also the best time to look ahead and plan for a better 2012. So we need to understand how things will be changing in the coming years. I have been listening to Asmara’s Dealers across the country and would like to share my “5 Trends and Predictions for 2012”:
1. Customers will return to seeking the best quality rugs again.
An Asmara “To The Trade Dealer” told me that 2011 was his best year ever. He had been editing his offerings and now shows only the very best rugs. He says better quality rugs is why his sales are up for 2011.
Another major city dealer was forced to move to a higher-end location because of real estate decisions by his landlord. This dealer upgraded to better quality rugs and is loving the significant increase in sales and profits!
2. Suppliers who have lowered their quality and prices will not do as well in 2012.
A much larger neighboring dealer of the first dealer mentioned above has been steadily switching to lower quality, lower priced rugs. He has seen a significant decline in sales. His customers have gone to the dealer who is offering the best quality rugs. Lowering quality in an economic downturn is such a common mistake, even sophisticated retailers like Neiman Marcus have made it. They will lose out as the economy gradually improves in 2012 and beyond.
3. Customers will become more knowledgeable about products.
Customers are researching and become better at sifting the Internet for what is reliable from what is self serving and misleading. They now walk into dealer’s showrooms with a clearer idea of what they like and how much it should cost. This has made it easier for the better dealers at the expense of dealers who are not keeping up. This trend will accelerate and weed out some dealers.
4. It will become harder to find quality products and quality service.
Manufacturers have cut back production of the best quality rugs and replaced them with cheaper, lower quality rugs. Even though the western economies have declined the economies of rug producing countries such as Turkey, India and China have been booming. This has sharply raised the costs of making high quality rugs because they require more labor to make than lower quality rugs. However, customers who like the best quality rugs will not switch to lower quality rugs as long as they can find a dealer who still offers the best quality rugs.
5. Customers will want instant gratification, but will have to adjust to having the best rugs made on a custom order basis.
As customers become more knowledgeable at recognizing quality in rugs, they become more confident. But many have postponed purchases of rugs and other home furnishings for so long, they now wish the rugs to be delivered quickly. However, this will become increasingly difficult. In the last few years most manufactures have reduced production of quality rugs and have changed their business models entirely to only making custom rugs. You can now custom order your exact color preferences, designs and sizes and have the rugs delivered to you in 16 to 20 weeks. In the coming years this will become the only way you will be able to get the best rugs.