Moquette fabric tops passenger preference survey
Bus Users has just conducted a major industry survey on behalf of the textile specialist for bus and coach interiors, Camira Transport Fabrics.
The survey was designed to solicit direct feedback from the UK travelling public about their opinions regarding the fabric and upholstery finishes on the seats of the buses they travel on. Over 600 passengers in six different UK regions were questioned about their material preference among moquette, leather, flat-cloth and PVC, as well as being asked to indicate the material characteristics they judged most important. The outright favourite among passengers was moquette fabric, preferred by 45% of respondents, ranking highest for its comfort, appearance and non-slip properties.
Camira was keen to understand passenger tastes and material trends in a bid to inform future product development strategies, commissioning Bus Users to conduct primary research in a mix of rural and urban areas, covering broad ranging demographics and different bus operators using different types of upholstery. Surveyors were provided with a material swatch containing numbered samples in identical plain designs and colourways, then a short questionnaire was used to survey passengers at bus stations, bus stops and on buses. Surveys were undertaken in Edinburgh, Cambridge, Leeds, Nottingham, Middlesbrough, and Blackburn and Burnley.
The findings, analysed by Bus Users and collated into a white paper brochure and infographic, indicate a clear preference for moquette, which was rated outright favourite among both male and female passengers and among everyday bus users. 45% of respondents chose moquette as their favourite material type, liking its comfort, appearance and its non-slip characteristics. Leather, meanwhile, came in second place, preferred by 31% of respondents, with a greater preference among women to men (23% versus 16%) and the favourite among weekday travellers. It actually polarised opinions, with some respondents perceiving it as fashionable and easier to clean, while others complained about it being sweaty, slippery and inappropriate for the summer. Flat-cloth was the third placed material type, gaining 20% share of the votes, while vinyl trailed last with just 4%.
In order to establish what attributes passengers find most important in an upholstery material, they were asked to give an importance rating to Appearance, Comfort, Cleanliness, Non-slip, and Environmentally friendly. The results were decisive, with Comfort and Cleanliness both out in front with 27.4% and 26.3% of the votes respectively. Comfort was judged the most important in all locations, while Cleanliness was rated second in all places except in Edinburgh where it came third. Appearance, with 17.6% overall votes, came third in all places apart from in Edinburgh where it came second. Non-slip was fourth overall and Environmentally friendly rated the least important.
In a final question relating to the particular material types, moquette was ranked as favourite across all product characteristics, the only exception being Cleanliness where it came second to leather. Its highest ranking category was Comfort, where it outperformed the next favourite, leather, by 100 votes.
Camira Group Director of Marketing Ian Burn commented: “The survey has given us extremely valuable information not just about the specific material preferences, but about what’s important to customers. Moquette continues to hold its own, but leather is gaining in popularity, while flat-cloth was almost the default fabric choice for those who didn’t like either moquette or leather. The great thing is that Camira can cover all material options from a single source of supply.”
Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users added: “In addition to voicing their opinions about material choices, passengers made it clear that they want to be able to travel on comfortable, clean buses. In that respect the survey sent a clear message to operators.”