FEATHERED NESTS

By Published on .

In this land of rugged individualists, people go to considerable lengths to personalize their dwellings. Where are the heavy spenders that Pier 1, Crate & Barrel and Bed, Bath & Beyond hope to attract?

American Demographics teamed up with Redlands, Calif.-based ESRI Business Information Solutions to find out. The accompanying map, based on consumer spending data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, reveals high concentrations of spending on home furnishings in major metro areas and their suburbs — extending along the Washington, D.C., to Boston corridor in the east, and from San Diego up to the Bay Area on the west coast. The counties in our PopUpdates are among the top 25 based on how much the average household spends on gussying up its home. The most extravagant buyers in 2001 hailed from Fairfax County, Va., where the home furnishings bill averaged $3,935 per household. Big spenders can also be found in the inland enclaves of Fayette County, Ga., just outside Atlanta, and Pitkin County, Colo., which is home to Aspen, as well as in the farthest reaches of the country, such as the Dillingham census area in Alaska.

In 2001, America's 105 million households shelled out some $425 billion to spiff up their homes, up 28 percent from just five years earlier. The total includes everything from big-ticket items, such as furniture and major appliances, to chrome-plated brass soap dishes, fluted earthenware mixing bowls and blown-glass candleholders. The more enterprising buyers lurk on eBay's auction Web site, waiting for the right moment to pounce on vintage Shaker tables that will set them back several thousand dollars. Or they troll appliance aisles for brushed stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerators and professional-quality Viking cooking ranges. Some of the purchases may seem frivolous, but it's all worth it. After all, there's no place like home.

BEST-DRESSED DIGS

Top 10 counties by average household spending on home furnishings in 2001.

COUNTY AVG. SPENT PER HOUSEHOLD TOTAL EXPENDITURE PER COUNTY SPENDING POTENTIAL INDEX*
Fairfax County, VA $3,935 $1,418,114,835 189
Morris County, NJ $3,886 $667,598,537 187
Somerset County, NJ $3,869 $431,861,833 186
Santa Clara County, CA $3,779 $2,156,725,988 182
Montgomery County, MD $3,575 $1,189,846,232 172
Fairfield County, CT $3,554 $1,169,870,503 171
Douglas County, CO $3,469 $241,729,296 167
San Mateo County, CA $3,453 $879,643,663 166
Nassau County, NY $3,451 $1,550,067,937 166
Hunterdon County, NJ $3,438 $152,797,612 165
Source: ESRI Business Information Solutions
* The Spending Potential Index (SPI) measures the likely expenditure for a product or service. It then compares the average local expenditure to the average amount spent nationally. For instance, households in Fairfax County spend 89 percent more on home furnishings than the national average and (see PopUpdate) 107 percent more on decorative pillows and slipcovers.
1 “Other household decorative items� includes paintings, vases, mirrors, baskets and seasonal decorations.
Source for all PopUpdates: ESRI Business Information Solutions

popupdate

DOUGLAS COUNTY, CO

County rank by avg. HH spending 7
Average home furnishings spending/household $3,469
Number of households 69,683
SPENDING POTENTIAL INDEX* 167
Decorative pillows/slipcovers 183
Clocks/other household decorative items 1 163
Lamps and lighting fixtures 169

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA

County rank by avg. HH spending 4
Average home furnishings spending/household $3,779
Number of households 570,713
SPENDING POTENTIAL INDEX* 182
Decorative pillows/slipcovers 200
Clocks/other household decorative items 1 181
Lamps and lighting fixtures 200

DuPAGE COUNTY, IL

County rank by avg. HH spending 21
Average home furnishings spending/household $3,228
Number of households 329,480
SPENDING POTENTIAL INDEX* 155
Decorative pillows/slipcovers 166
Clocks/other household decorative items 1 155
Lamps and lighting fixtures 163

COLLIN COUNTY, TX

County rank by avg. HH spending 15
Average home furnishings spending/household $3,393
Number of households 197,448
SPENDING POTENTIAL INDEX* 163
Decorative pillows/slipcovers 174
Clocks/other household decorative items 1 159
Lamps and lighting fixtures 167

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ

County rank by avg. HH spending 2
Average home furnishings spending/household $3,886
Number of households 171,796
SPENDING POTENTIAL INDEX* 187
Decorative pillows/slipcovers 206
Clocks/other household decorative items 1 190
Lamps and lighting fixtures 207

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA

County rank by avg. HH spending 1
Average home furnishings spending/household $3,935
Number of households 360,385
SPENDING POTENTIAL INDEX* 189
Decorative pillows/slipcovers 207
Clocks/other household decorative items 1 188
Lamps and lighting fixtures 202
In this article:
Most Popular