The profile of the typical retail buyer of wall coverings has changed little in 20 years, although the number of people fitting it has increased to 35% of the population, according to survey data collected by the St. Louis-based National Decorating Products Assn. The elements making up this consumer's profile include the following: female, homeowner, 25-44 years old (a "baby boomer"), college educated, married with children, household income exceeding $35,000 earned primarily in a professional, managerial or sales position.
Most--71%--bought wall coverings in home decorating centers and 10% at home centers, both serving a primarily do-it-yourself clientele; 18% bought at other kinds of stores, including building supply shops and design showrooms selling wholesale to the interior decorating trade. While one-third typically bought two to four rolls at a time, 26% bought 12 or more, and 25% from six to eight rolls, indicating that most were papering more than one room at a time.
The survey pinpointed an emerging new age group of importance for the wall-covering industry--the "woofers," derived from the phrase "well off, over 50." The woofers' children, typically, are through college and out of the house, leaving the parents with a larger-than-ever percentage of discretionary income to spend on top-of-the-line products chosen and installed for them.