In preparation for their entry into the dining product category, aspenhome™ conducted extensive research to identify social and economic trends that effects how consumers are living. These trends have ramifications for the products that manufacturers would need to produce.
Jena Hall, aspenhome vice president of merchandising bedroom, dining and occasional, states that conducting the research was paramount to the success of the aspenhome dining collections. “We knew that the dining category has changed dramatically over the last few years and we wanted to make sure that we were responding to today’s consumers’ real life needs. We had an independent market research company conduct a study to determine the consumers’ changing entertaining patterns and to help us focus on these new evolving changes and preferences. We now routinely review these findings and evaluate the most obvious trends to see if they are becoming established and accepted so we can integrate them into our products. Some trends move quickly into mainstream marketplace and while others take more time to evolve. So we always need to monitor the evolution as it is relevant to our customers. May of the trends have more to do new functional needs driven by the evolving consumer lifestyle preferences then by the design style trends.”
Dining Reposturing. Sitting down to dinner is no longer a formal name placement activity. Dining has become more egalitarian, the hierarchy where the host and hostess starts the meal and directs the event is bygone.
The typical family structure of the 20th century post war era has evolved into an eclectic composition. There are more single head of households thus designated host and hostess seating is no longer the most popular configuration. Also, today more than 1 generation is living under one roof and there is a new equality within the multi-generational makeup of the family. Older children are returning home after service or college as well as grandparents or other extended families. Many members come and go at various times so the size of the table needs to be flexible.
In addition, the formal sit-down family mealtime has given way to meal times taking place in a less structured setting or timetable. This conventional dining room location and function has evolved and the size and shape of tables has needed to evolve along with these social changes.
More diversified locations throughout the home such as kitchens, family rooms, dens, great rooms, media rooms and even bedrooms are used for meals and or socialization at a table for some related purpose. Gathering, games, homework or quick, light meals means more diversified types of tables have needed to evolve to fill these spaces with different sizes and shapes other than the conventional rectangular dining table.
The new types of informal furniture are more about gathering and socializing than eating and these types of tables are now available as an optional solution to conventional configurations. Round and square dining tables have become popular because these shapes facilitate better conservations between all members.
Birth of the Grand Buffet. One major trend is that the family does not entertain as often as in the past but when they do entertain they have a large number of people for holiday meals, celebrations, or simply impromptu gatherings. Today, entertaining is more about enjoying the socialization as it is about the “art” of dining”. Formal sit down dinners have given way to more informal “help yourself type entertaining”.
The birth of a grand buffet to provide the guest accessibility to the food and have it beautifully displayed serves this need. Stone tops for hot food platter protection and built-in power plugs for easy access for hot plates, drink blenders, coffee or espresso machines, are just a few of the helpful features aspenhome provides in their buffets and servers.
Evolution of the China Cabinet. The china cabinet, where you display your grandmother’s cherished heirlooms, is still needed and desired by many consumers. However, a more versatile product for today’s lifestyle is adaptable cabinetry that has display area and typical serving features. aspenhome’s china cabinet has sliding doors, removable wine racks, pullout shelving and special felt-lined drawers for silver pieces.
Regional Preferences Drives Design
The various regions in the United States have specific yet diversified needs based on regional architectural differences. In the northeast where homes are usually smaller and have size limitations, this china cabinet and a rectangular dining table with chairs may be the best solution. In the southwest, larger rooms with higher ceilings and more open floor plans can handle larger pieces. These regional trends make it important for manufacturers to provide optional dining size solutions.
Ethnic Population Shifts also Influence Buying Preferences.
In addition, the growing ethnic populations have other factors driving their preferences. For example, large conventional Hispanic families entertain with many members of their extended family present and prefer to gather in a more formal setting with a traditional armed “host” chair reserved for the head of the household and most often with a rectangular shaped table.
Other ethnic groups, like the growing Chinese population, prefers a round table to a rectangle table because of the status attached to this preferred shape based on Feng shui design principals of equality, harmony and simplicity. The chair opposite the entry door is always reserved for the most important person or guest of honor with other important guests placed closest to the guest of honor, eldest, or head of the household.
aspenhome™ has evolved over the past 27 years from a small family owned home entertainment business based in Phoenix to a full line furniture company specializing in thoughtfully designed innovative products for the way people work, play and relax at home. Recognized as a resource for fashionable and functional family furniture, the aspenhome™ collection includes bedroom, dining, home office, home entertainment, stationary and motion leather seating, and occasional furnishings.
aspenhome™ is distributed by Furniture Values International, LLC and headquartered in Phoenix, AZ.
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