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New York, Show Recap

Special Report: NY Home Fashions Market Buyers Snap Up Value Rugs, Part 1

Area rug executives at New York Home Fashions Market report that big box, mass merchant and e-commerce buyers were scooping up value-driven area rugs. In this special two-part report RugNews dives deep into the rug trends and price points driving the category.

Lisa Vincenti
montage of value priced rugs
Value-driven area rugs in a range of on-trend designs were scooped up by big box, mass merchant and e-commerce
buyers in New York.

NEW YORK -- New York Home Fashion Market's most prominent area rug companies report that the show's buyers, which are comprised mostly of big box, mass merchant and e-commerce retailers, are looking for strong value propositions as they head into spring 2024.
In fact, many of these buyers are turning toward affordable "solids", easy to decorate with neutrals, washables, indoor-outdoor pieces, and scatters and mats to see them through what they expect to be another unpredictable year. However, rug executives report that they remain positive about the area rug category for the year.
At the show, RugNews.com, caught up with Igor Yakovenko, rug buyer at Airbase Carpet & Tile Mart, which operates 14 flooring superstores across Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. "We were off by a couple of points last year, but the margins were healthy," Yakovenko said. "But I'm happy because after some really high highs, this was a return to normal. "This year, I'm shopping for more value because it's an election year, which are usually a little choppy. You have to give people a reason to buy now. So, we will have specials, close-outs, heavy promotions -- that's what is moving the business this year."

Yakovenko's approach to the category is to focus on mid-priced rugs; he prefers not to offer entry level price points and wants to ensure customers receive a higher-quality product they will be satisfied with.
"We have on average 300-plus area rugs in each store with 8x11s on the rack. We're a specialty store, so I really try not to emphasize the entry-level price points. Rugs in the $400 to $700 for an 8X11 is where the bulk of the business is done."
At New York Home Fashions Market, Yakovenko was shopping classic styles, including Dynamic Rugs' Ancient Garden collection of rugs and roll runners, because while fashion trends turn quickly in the rug business, his customers often prefer a classic design aesthetic to fashion. What's more, the shelf life of a traditionally styled area rug will far outlive a fashion design, he added.


"For the past several months, our top performers at big box and mass merchant buyers were our washables and our opening price for woven rug, which is around $49 to $79 in 5x7 depending on the retailer," said Andy Brumlow, VP product development at Oriental Weavers USA. "Most of the mass accounts are looking for lower value rugs."

OW's entry-level Ethereal collection offers easy to decorate with colors and textural patterns.

That trend informed the major OW rug introductions at New York Home Fashions Market, "Mass is looking for less fashion and more solid color utility. A lot of them want out of the fashion business and have been moving in that direction for the last two years," he continued.

"Fashion changes so quickly and they're not able to move quick enough to keep up. The big box buyers want less fashion so we brought more 'utility' and a lot of our opening price points are simpler styles."

However, that doesn't translate to boring, design-free rugs. "To not look like just cut broadloom, rugs need to still have a little bit of texture in them, so with some of our high-lows, we've added a matte and luster effect, which adds a lot to a lower-end rug that is overall fairly simple," said Mandi Williams, OW design director, "That adds something extra to a really simple construction to give not fashion but interest."

Oriental Weavers' new Transcend, despite its affordability offers plenty of texture, and contrasting shiny and matte yarns.

Spring entry-level rug introductions include Ethereal, a collection of soft neutrals -- ivory paired with a range of browns -- with high low texture and shimmering accents. Machine woven of 100 percent polyester, the 12 designs pair shiny and matte fibers, and high-low textures to amp up the perceived value of these affordable pieces. The collection, like most of OW's introductions, includes a range of trending motifs from abstracts to modern geometrics and classic medallions. Transcend collection offers the same construction as Ethereal but in a different creel of ivory, blues and grays.

Two slight step-up collections are Mosaic, with eight solid color designs with high-low details rendered in light gray, and Charisma, with an ivory palette. These rugs feature a plusher hand and longer pile height.

OW's Mosaic and Charisma (shown) collections of solid color rugs offer a lusher pile, one in ivory, the other in light gray.

For big box buyers, mass merchants and e-commerce, machine-washable area rugs continue to be top choice for their easy-care nature and bold designs, "We've got a ton of them and it's more pattern. A lot of this product is sold online. Stores still have some, but most is online," Brumlow said, adding that in 5x7, washables range from $59-$99.

The machine washable Sahana, which is sold at an opening price point, is printed on a polyester base and includes the abstract styles that OW customers have requested. Athena, printed on polyester chenille, offers a subtle texture for a step up. And the washable Avila, printed on a polyester base, features a longer pile for plusher texture.

Customers requested more abstract styles in OW's machine-washable assortment and the company delivered. Shown, Avila


At Nourison Homes's showroom in 230 5th Ave. customers were also seeking value and washables. "Everybody we expected to come came to the show," said Giovanni Marra, VP marketing & creative, adding that Nourison hosted market buyers both pre- and post-show. "We had a busy market  and are expecting it to be a good market.

"Overall, more and more buyers are looking for value," he continued, pointing out that for New York Home Fashions Market, Nourison keys in on value- to middle-market priced goods.

Buyers attending New York Market asked for washable rugs and also indoor-outdoor, so Nourison added more collections in both of those categories for spring shoppers at a better-quality value prices. Printed and woven are also top choices, with prices ranging from $199-$499 in 5x7. For those looking to step up, Nourison’s higher-quality power-loomed goods or hand-tufted pieces were $899 in 5x7.

Nourison introduced the power-loomed Astra, a soft, short-pile machine-washable lineup, that buyers snapped up.

"We're seeing more mid-price players actually selling higher-end goods," Marra noted. "But I hesitate to call that a trend yet, so we'll see how that plays out."

A top selling collection in the Nourison showroom was Infinite, power-loomed of polyester and polypropylene, and offering the look of hand-made vintage rugs. Another mid-priced top seller was Graceful, which added four geometric motifs to earlier abstract styles based on customer requests. Graceful is hand-tufted of 100 percent wool with a cut and loop pile.

Featuring trending tonal patterns and the styling of a vintage handmade rug, Infinite was a market favorite.

Twist, a new reversible indoor-outdoor collection, is loom-woven of 89 percent polypropylene and 11 percent polyester, was popular at market. And buyers also gave a thumbs up to Nourison's new Care Free collection of performance rugs, made of soft and durable polypropylene, and its Astra machine-washable lineup, power-loomed of polyester.

Nourison introduced its solid-color, texture rich Care Free collection of soft and durable performance rugs at spring market.

Finally, following the success of the Sustainable Trends at fall market and based on customer request, Nourison introduced Eco Cycle at the spring event. Both collections are made from certified recycled plastic bottles and carry the Oeko Tex certification as well.

Nourison Home responded to customer requests for more sustainable products and the company delivered with Eco Cycle.


At Surya's showroom, fashion-forward value debuts -- which take their cues from looks in the high-end handmade rug category and reworks those into machine-woven pieces -- hit the mark with big box and mass merchant buyers. The company, which just introduced its Livabliss label to differentiate its "good" rug assortment from its better and best Surya brand, received a thumbs up for several market debuts.

"Our clients are telling us we are at the very forefront of the warm neutral trend. We have the application and the variety," said Satya Tiwari, company CEO. "Mass merchants and big box retailers are doing great and they are optimistic. There are some macro factors that make it more difficult, but we are all optimistic that the second half of 2024 should be a good year.

"Depending on the mass merchant, no one is pushing the price point right now, It's all value. During COVID, one advantage we all had was we're trying to experiment with different price points. Now, some of those price points have stuck, but they’re all value price points," he explained.

Surya's new indoor-outdoor Randolph collection offers a lush hand for a go anywhere feel.

An exciting debut in the showroom that earned a big thumbs up is Randolph, a collection of warm and cool-toned painterly abstract designs. These rugs offer a substantial plush pile yet they’re outdoor rugs ideal for busy homes with children and pets. They offer the easy-care characteristics of outdoor rugs but with a luxe hand.

Southlake is an indoor collection of subtle classic motifs with a soft and time-worn quality and short pile to emulate vintage hand-knotteds. These rugs offer a very neutral brown-toned palette. Chastain also includes traditional motifs but in richer brown tonal colorations with the look of worn vintage rugs and slightly higher pile. Finally, Brookeville offers classic floral motifs rendered in soft warm and cool tones with distressed styling.

Surya's tonal Chastain collection offered the sophisticated styling of handmade vintage rugs at a attainable price that
buyers scooped up.

The new Broadmoor collection reworks classic Oushak motifs in warm and cool tones, with judicious accents of darker colors to highlight elements of the floral motif. These rugs also feature a worn effect lending them the air of timeless antiques.

The Broadmoor collection of transitional Oushaks featured subtle motif accents for buyers looking for clear floral motifs.

Vanguard, is an active solid full of texture with minimal design, featuring cut and loop polyester pile that mimics the shimmer of viscose and feels like wool. Finally, Surya released Gold Coast, which includes both modern geometric motifs and transitional styles, rendered in subdued earth tones full of gradation. Gold Coast features the same dense construction as Surya's recently introduced Avellino collection, which offers the heaviest machine-woven pile in the company's arsenal.

Surya's new heavy pile Gold Coast offers subtle geometric and classic motifs in trending neutrals.
"We are bringing a high-design aesthetic to our value retailers. Our inspiration here is the high-end, hand-knotted construction. How do we bring that to a value price? Mass merchants tell us they like working with us, because we offer looks from high-end, but at exceptional value."

-- Continue reading Special Report: NY Home Fashions Market Buyers Snap Up Value Rugs, Part 2
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