Prospective home buyers have spoken loud and clear: They demand a choice of energy-efficient appliances, according to a new survey of consumer preferences reported by the country's top 100 residential homebuilders.
The question is: Are homebuilders listening? Although the nation's top homebuilders say that 70 percent of prospective home buyers want energy-efficient appliances, only half of the builders offer home buyers energy-efficient appliance options, according to the survey results. The fax and telephone survey of the largest residential homebuilders was conducted in January 2002. In all, 54 percent of the homebuilders responded to the survey.
As more home buyers seek energy-efficient appliances, more homebuilders are beginning to heed the trend. Although only half of builders currently offer energy-efficient appliances, almost 61 percent of builders will provide consumers with an energy-efficient option by next year, according to the survey results.
Energy-efficiency is just one criterion prospective home buyers look for when selecting an appliance. New home buyers are also pushing homebuilders to offer an array of features that they want in new homes-including a wider selection of appliances. The survey found that up to 25 percent of home buyers want a preference in selecting from multiple appliance brands. At present, only 26 percent of homebuilders offer more than one brand in each appliance category.
"A cardinal rule of selling is giving customers what they want. Homebuilders know this," said Bill Collins, vice president and general manager of Sears Contract Sales. "That's why they are starting to focus their attention on finding ways to offer energy-efficient appliances and appliance selections. By doing so, they are helping consumers save money and protect the environment for future generations. The problem that many homebuilders might be facing is that they are accustomed to doing business with a small number of appliance vendors. Now, they have to find an easy, cost-efficient way to offer home buyers a selection of energy-efficient appliances. That could be why some homebuilders haven't yet jumped on the bandwagon," Collins added.
Working with an appliance supplier that offers many brand choices is one way that homebuilders can meet home buyers' needs. Instead of contracting with multiple appliance vendors, for example, builders can offer their customers the choice of the nation's top six appliance brands through Sears Appliance Select showrooms.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. was named the 2000 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. The Retail Partner of the year Award recognizes the ENERGY STAR partner that best demonstrates its commitment to educating consumers about the benefits of energy-efficiency products.
Sears sold 1.1 million energy-efficient products in 2000. The Sears ENERGY STAR program is conducted in more than 860 full-line stores and 750 independently owned dealer stores in all 50 states. Sears supports the ENERGY STAR program by displaying and selling ENERGY STAR-labeled appliances, electronics and office equipment in all Sears stores and online at http://www.sears.com/ .
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of more than $40 billion. The company serves families in the U.S. through Sears stores nationwide, including approximately 860 full-line stores. Sears also offers a wide variety of merchandise and services through its Web site, http://www.sears.com/ .
SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
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