Plumbs' customers are generally part of the ever increasing community of Silver Surfers, the over-50s generation of new online visitors. So with the current economic gloom and the constant media messages talking us all into a recession, we decided to ask our customers what their views were of the whole situation and why they bought from Plumbs.
The vast majority with savings and pensions couldn't see the point of keeping their money in the bank because they're not getting anything from it due to the drop in interest rates. They're taking the attitude, they'd rather see something for their money and enjoy it!
Many that were in the process of selling their homes found there were too few buyers on the market so decided to take it off and instead make home improvements. They can then benefit from enjoying their home and have it looking great when the market eventually picks up.
The more active of our customers are finding themselves going out less and staying in more, which is giving them time to sort out all those little annoyances such as worn sofa upholstery and out-of-date curtains. These items are far longer lasting than going out for meals and other leisurely pursuits.
Decent furniture doesn't come cheap, unlike a lot of poorly made imports that have flooded the market over the last few years. Customers who have paid several thousand pounds for quality furniture are finding it far cheaper to re-furbish than to buy brand new similar quality furniture.
Often our customers are so attached to their loved pieces of furniture they don't seem care it can cost more than to buy new, so will still pay for refurbishment.
To keep up with the latest fashions most new pieces of furniture use low backs and can be quite big and bulky. These styles are often not loved or enjoyed by our customers.
The environment still plays a big part in people buying decisions: guilt about throwing out something that there's not really anything wrong with, it's just the fabric is grubby and the cushions have gone saggy. Or they've tried giving it to charity, who've refused, because of fire safety issues! Not even the homeless can have it!
The biggest irritation expressed by our customers seems to be directed at the media for 'talking people into recession', however this comes with the belief it's important to spend and keep the economy going.
The Silver Surfers seem more determined to spend and enjoy it!
We'll go through our fabric collections and offer advice on colour and designs. There's no pressure to buy anything.