This classification includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing house slippers of leather or other materials.
316212 (House Slipper Manufacturing)
The house slippers industry falls under the auspices of the nonrubber footwear industry, which produces all types of footwear except rubber protective and rubbersoled "sneakers." House slippers may be constructed with leather, vinyl, plastic, cloth, or textile uppers for both genders of all ages.
The modern structure of house slipper manufacturing is characterized by several major brand names with primary distribution through department store venues. The leading brand names differentiate themselves by comfort and fashion levels. In the early 2000s, the leading brand names included Dearfoams by R.G. Barry Corporation and Isotoners by Aris. However, consumers' footwear buying habits had shifted to form, function, and comfort—away from brand names. Many consumers were seeking lower-priced house slippers in strip shopping centers and outlet stores instead of in traditional shopping mall department stores.
A portion of the house slipper consumer market is represented by housebound invalids and hospitalized patients. This sector of the market seeks products that are
lightweight, comfortable, easy to put on and take off, and unlikely to fall off the feet. American Salesman magazine also listed house slippers among the items one should never fail to pack when traveling. Sales people and other frequent travelers opt for house slippers that are fashionable, lightweight, and easy to pack.
The house slippers industry is the smallest division within the nonrubber footwear industry. There were less than 20 establishments in the early 2000s, down from 31 in 1992. The industry experienced a decline in the value of shipments each year between 1997 and 2001. During this time period, the value of shipments fell from $192.4 million to $133.2 million. Of nonrubber footwear product shipments, house slippers accounted for about a quarter of the quantity but only 3 percent of the value, primarily because most slippers are produced from lower-cost vinyls and other textiles. In 2000, a total of 1,780 employees worked for the industry, down from 2,501 in 1997. The industry's 1,373 production workers in 2000 earned substantially less than the average manufacturing worker. House slipper manufacturers earned an average of $9.41 per hour compared to $15.37 per hour for all of manufacturing.
In order to maintain profitability in the face of declining demand, the house slipper industry considers new technology essential to increasing productivity and lowering costs of manufacturing. The increased use of computers has already integrated design, management, manufacturing, and marketing functions. Overall, the industry emphasizes such nonprice factors as quality and quick delivery in competition with imports. The industry has turned to computer-aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM). Through these methods, companies can link computer system data to autostitchers, milling, and turning machines. The industry has also increased its use of three-dimensional CAD, which produces more accurate slipper patterns and reduces the number of prototypes needed.
U.S. Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries: 2000." February 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/m00as-1.pdf .
——. "Value of Shipments for Product Classes: 2001 and Earlier Years." December 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/m01as-2.pdf .