New research from the Harvard Business School suggests that consumers are paying higher prices for carpets and other products, and that this has an impact on the quality of living for those who use them.
The research, published today in the Journal of Consumer Research, analyzed data from a wide variety of products and showed that, across a range of consumer characteristics, carpet prices are higher than people think.
While a carpet is usually a cheap investment, it’s not without its drawbacks, especially in terms of its quality and lifespan.
The study found that those who spend the most money on carpets tend to spend more money overall.
In particular, people who spend more on carpet than the average household spend on their own home.
“We looked at all the products people are buying, how much they spend on carpet, how they are using it, how long they use it, what they think about it, and how they’re interacting with it, all the while looking at the cost of materials and energy,” said Harvard Business Professor of Consumer Studies and Co-Director of the Institute for Consumer Economics, Paul P. Bresnahan.
The study also found that the higher prices people pay for carpet are not just because of higher-quality carpet.
Rather, people are paying for the quality, the longevity, and the durability of the materials used.
Bresnahan said that, because of the large amount of time spent on carpeting and because consumers are increasingly using the technology to replace their old carpets in order to save money, the carpet industry is under intense scrutiny.
“The industry is in crisis,” he said.
“The cost of carpeting has increased and we’re seeing this pressure on consumers to get better quality.”
The study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which tracks household spending on household goods, including home furnishings, and compared this to data from multiple sources.
“One of the things we found is that, in a lot of cases, carpeting is an important part of the home that’s not accounted for by other things that we consider to be important,” said study co-author Charles L. Smith, a professor in the Department of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Smith also said that the study’s findings have important implications for the way the industry views carpet prices.
“For carpet, if we’re going to talk about quality, quality is a really important factor,” he added.
“You need quality.
But, if you’re paying too much, you’re going in the wrong direction.”
The research also found some other interesting trends.
For example, people tend to pay more for new carpets than for used ones.
“We found that people are less willing to pay the price for a used carpet,” said Smith.
The survey also found a correlation between a person’s age and their purchasing behavior.
“It seems that if a person is older, their spending on carpet is going to be more of a cost, whereas if a woman is younger, their cost is going be more likely to be a saving,” said Bresnan.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the research is that the impact of carpet prices on quality and longevity is not as straightforward as people think it is.
“While the overall price of carpet may seem high, it is actually very low relative to the price of other household goods,” said P.J. Balsamo, co-director of the Consumer Economics Institute.
“And the cost is also dependent on the materials and the energy used.”