Business always gets a little weird during an election year, and that weirdness filters all the way down to individual consumers. Everybody gets nervous about a possible change in administrations. People often stop buying—holding off bigger purchases until they see who will be the next president. It has never been quite clear to me why that is. It seems that more and more Americans decide to vote for a presidential candidate based on what he or she plans to do for or to the U.S. economy when, more often, the president of the United States appears to have little actual effect on it. The goals, priorities and legislation submitted by the Oval Office get filtered though those officials we elect on the district and state level to represent our interests in Washington (our Congressmen and Senators), and it’s anybody’s guess how the president’s plans will look once they are through with them. Either up or down, a fractional change in the prime interest rate by the Federal Reserve, on the other hand, has immediate far-reaching results.
But at any rate, it’s over; the outcome of the presidential
election is not being argued in the Supreme Court this time. It’s
a new year and we all can get back to business, now. The general
feeling about that is good. The window coverings industry has weathered
recent economic uncertainties well, and most dealers and manufacturers
say they saw growth in 2004 and expect it to continue in 2005 (see
The industry is still feeling the effects of low interest rates,
mortgage refinancing and a boom in building. Every time someone
moves into or out of a new or an existing home, the market for window
coverings expands. Judging by what we’re hearing here at D&WC,
there will be some new products introduced this year, there will
be continued efforts to produce high-quality, high-benefit products
aimed at higher end consumers, and there will be support programs
put into place to help top-level dealers sell more to their clients.
At the same time, there have been adjustments and efficiencies by
suppliers making more products—and better products—available
through a wider range of price points. More customers will have
more ways to get the best window treatments they can afford.
Yes, economists agree that there is a nice momentum at the start
of this year and, for now at least, there’s reason to expect
it to continue. Happy new year!