tabletop picture

Tabletop: Setting the Table for Dining in New Luxury Style


New Unity Marketing snapshot reports are a research-based study of today’s affluent tabletop customer

Our culture is food crazy, so why aren’t the brands and retailers that provide dinnerware, flatware and glassware prospering in today’s food-obsesses market?

Food is all over the media, from two whole cable networks – the Cooking Channel and Food Channel — devoted exclusively to it, plus the PBS-spinoff Create, which devotes some 80% of programming to food, not to mention the plethora of food shows from celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsey, Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Flay to the networks’ daily Chew and Rachel Ray shows. Then there are the roughly 3 million cookbooks sold each year, hundreds of magazines devoted to, or heavily weighted to cooking, and innumerable recipe websites.

With such an obsession with food, eating, cooking and dining, the tabletop industry should be thriving. What’s holding it back? Very simply, tabletop marketers and retailers are more focused on selling the products, i.e. things to eat on, rather than how their products enhance the dining experience of customers.

And nowhere is this focus on product so pronounced than in the high-end, luxury segment of the tabletop market. While many of these brands fancy themselves lifestyle brands, they present their goods more like ‘objets,’ or things to look at, admire, and display, rather than products that can greatly enhance the customers’ dining experiences.

Why lifestyle brands are eating luxury tabletop brand’s lunch

No wonder then that true lifestyle-focused brands, like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Pier 1 Imports, IKEA, Williams-Sonoma and West Elm, are attracting the generous spending and customer loyalty of the affluent top 20%.

These marketers, which are looked down upon in high-end tabletop circles as ‘casual,’ thus not in their competitive class, are selling to the affluents’ real lifestyles, not the media-driven, fantasy images of the ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous.’

Casual tabletop marketers are eating the high-end brands’ lunch because they understand that luxury is in the eye of the beholder and that a luxurious dining experience doesn’t have to cost a fortune or require white gloves to serve.

How to set the table for the lifestyles of the affluent customer

The tabletop industry players need to better understand the mindset and expectations of the customers with strong demand for tabletop and plenty of money to spend when they shop: the affluent top 20%.

The affluent 20%, which today starts at about $100k in household income, are far and away the best customer prospects for the tabletop industry that supplies the products and the retailers that sell them.

Unity Marketing has studied the affluent tabletop customer and put together a package of reports designed to help tabletop brands and retailers gain new insights and understanding of the current affluent consumer market for tabletop, including dinnerware, flatware, glassware and servingware

These Snapshot Reports, based upon Unity Marketing’s Affluent Consumer Tracking Study (ACTS) surveys, provide data, insight and understanding of who the best tabletop customers are, what brands they are buying, where they are shopping and what motivates their purchases.

Unity Marketing’s tabletop market research has you covered

Unity Marketing’s ACTS survey provides two separate looks at the affluent tabletop customer, one focused on the products purchased and the other focused on affluents who frequent specialty tabletop stores, such as Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, Crate and Barrel and others.

These reports are available separately or together to give marketers and retailers a comprehensive view of the affluent tabletop customer.

Click here to order your copy today

Unity Marketing leads with research to give marketers access and understanding of the affluent tabletop customer. These are your best and brightest prospects today and tomorrow. We provide both qualitative and quantitative insights into the affluent consumer market for your tabletop brand or shopping experience.

Call me at 717.336.1600 or email to learn how research-focused insights can provide the competitive edge in the extremely competitive tabletop market.

Learn more about our custom research services by clicking here.