Web promotes higher spending for floor care
Floor care, water filtration devices and air purifiers generate higher average prices online than in brick-and-mortar stores, according to research from NPD Group.
The research company’s Consumer Tracking Service, looking back at the 12 months ended March 2013, found that consumers are spending significantly more for these home environment cleaning appliances purchased online.
In floor care, the average online selling price for the period was $140, compared with $97 in stores. (See chart.) Online dollar sales also gained a larger share of consumer spend — up 16% for floor care, and up 27% for water filtration devices.
“The success of the online channel is a result of broader product selection, a wider range of price points and the convenient platform to research and compare product features,” said Debra Mednick, executive director and home industry analyst. “Layering on the incentive of free shipping (often with a minimum shopping cart), increases the likelihood that consumers are willing to trade up, thus, spending more on their purchase.”
Pending home sales improve slightly
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 0.3% to 106.0 in April from 105.7 in March, and is 10.3% above April 2012 when it was 96.1, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Home contract activity is at the highest level since the index hit 110.9 in April 2010, which was right before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit. Pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 24 months.
“The housing market continues to squeak out gains from already very positive conditions,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Pending contracts so far this year easily correspond to higher closed home sales in 2013.”
The PHSI in the Northeast jumped 11.5% to 92.3 in April and is 17.7% above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index rose 3.2% to 107.1 in April and is 15.1% higher than April 2012. Pending home sales in the South slipped 1.1% to an index of 119.2 in April but are 12.3% above a year ago. The index in the West fell 7.6% in April to 94.6 and is 2.6% below April 2012.
Scotts announces phosphorus-free lawn fertilizers
Scotts Miracle-Gro has achieved its goal of removing phosphorus from its Turf Builder brand lawn food maintenance products. The commitment was first announced on World Water Day in 2011 as a partial solution to nutrient runoff that can lead to excessive algae growth in waterways.
"In 2011 we announced that production of our conventional Turf Builder brand lawn food would be phosphorus-free by this season," said Scotts Miracle-Gro chief marketing officer Jim Lyski. "As consumers feed their lawns this spring, they should know they can get great results from our products while also protecting and preserving our water resources."
The 2011 phosphorus-free announcement marked the expansion of a commitment made by the company in 2006 to stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay area that phosphorus content in lawn foods would be reduced by 50%.
"We are committed to ensuring sustainable water supplies for generations to come, and going phosphorus free was a commitment we were proud to make," said Scotts’ global research and development leader Bruce Caldwell. "Our associates’ enthusiasm for this initiative has been tremendous and we also want to thank the environmental stakeholders we’ve worked with to make it possible."
Because phosphorus is essential to the initial root development of grass plants, the nutrient will remain in Scotts’ starter fertilizers for new lawns and in the company’s lines of organic lawn food — it naturally occurs in the organic materials contained in the products.