1.1 Definition and scope of study
The household textiles sector, also known as household linen, includes all textile products intended for household furnishings and fittings. This sector can be subdivided into two basic product areas: "unpackaged household linen", mainly consisting of meter fabrics and bundled cuts, and "packaged household linen", which represents the main share of the sectoral supply.
The “packaged household linen” is almost entirely destined to final consumers who tend to favour aspects such as practicality and readiness for use.
Regarding this type of product, this market can be divided in two main consumer bodies:
- Household linen destined for household use, which are the final consumers
- Household linen for contract markets i.e. restaurants, hotels, holiday resorts, wellness centres, airlines and shipping companies, hospitals and barracks, reached either directly or through the industrial laundry channel.
These two areas areas are characterised by their own success factors and therefore respond to different competitive pressures.
The contract market is characterised by a demand that is very sensitive to certain crucial variables such as price, resistance to washing, and the product’s functionality. In the family market there are also emotional and aesthetic variables for which the perceived message and targeted services are decisive. This particular area is characterised by a marked tendency to operate a strong segmentation, essentially based on stylistic content, perceived quality and the price variable, and translates into an increase in the number of collections presented. This trend seems to be confirmed by the interest shown in designer lines, gift proposals with attractive packaging and promotional incentives outside the traditional sales periods.
It is also possible to make a further subdivision based on the different product categories that make up the household linen sector.
The following market segments are therefore identified:
- Bed: linen, which includes products such as pillowcases, duvet covers, sheets and matching sheets, and bedding, which includes quilts, duvets, bedspreads, woollen blankets
- Tableware: tablecloths, napkins (matching or loose), American sets, under plates and table covers and mats
- Kitchen: dish towels, tea towels, aprons and pot holders (also matching)
- Bath: towels, bathrobes, shower mats, hand/face towels
- Everything else (carpets, upholstery, coasters etc)
Italy has a strong historic consumption of household linens. Following the 2008 crisis, economic priorities shifted elsewhere for a while, however in recent years the market of household linens in Italy seems to have recovered with decisive growth year on year. Italy is one of the top countries with the highest volumes of bed linen cotton consumption in 2018 (50K metric ton). Italy had 27K metric ton volume of bed linen of cotton production in 2018.
Due to the COVID Pandemic the manufacturing focus shifted to a certain degree away from home products and more towards hospital bed lining and cloth masks.
The home textile industry in Italy is dominated by native companies such as Vincenzo Zucchi, Rubelli, Gabel Industria Tessile and Caleffi.
While almost everyone is prone to consuming this product, an inroad has been made with millennials and GenZ. With higher disposable incomes, who do not live with their parents, they tend to appreciate the aesthetic aspect of household linen. More conscientious consumers are also taking into mind the country of origin, sustainability in manufacturing and consumption, and labour practices when buying these products.
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