For the home furnishings industry, the last three years have brought unprecedented change. The acceleration of ecommerce, a volatile housing market, economic uncertainty and supply chain challenges have created both opportunities and challenges for the industry.
From adopting new technology to a heightened focus on sustainability, furniture retailers are transforming to meet evolving consumer expectations. Here are three trends that will shape the home furnishings industry in 2023.
1. The Continued Growth of E-Commerce
Before the pandemic, consumers were reluctant to purchase furniture online. Despite the acceleration of ecommerce over the previous decade, the growth of furniture sales online remained low. In 2017, ecommerce sales in the United States grew by 16%. In comparison, sales of online furniture grew by approximately 4%.
When stores closed in 2020, people became more comfortable shopping online—especially for more oversized items that they would typically buy in stores. Furniture and appliances ranked as one of the three fastest-growing ecommerce categories in 2021. Online sales of furniture and homeware in the United States reached $137.7 billion that year.
And this shift in consumer behavior extends across generations. According to Furniture Today Strategic Insights, 58% of millennials, 49% of Gen Xers and 37% of baby boomers will make their next furniture purchase online.
For retailers, the digital acceleration of the industry is an opportunity to reimagine the customer experience, reach new customers and drive revenue.
2. An Emphasis on Sustainability
Today, consumers prioritize sustainability when shopping regardless of category. A study by Salesforce found that 76% of consumers look at environmental practices when deciding to buy from a company.
Furniture waste is a significant problem in the United States. Every year over 12 million tons of furniture ends up in landfills. As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases, buying furniture that is environmentally sustainable will become even more significant.
For retailers investing in sustainable materials, manufacturing and shipping practices is an opportunity to reduce waste, acquire new customers and drive brand loyalty.
The rise of resale
At the same time, recommerce is exploding. Aside from being environmentally friendly, buying and selling secondhand goods is also beneficial in an uncertain economic climate.
According to a survey by Floorfound, 52% of shoppers always or often look to resale before purchasing new furniture. And the rise of resale crosses generations, genders and income levels. Today, 86% of shoppers making over $165,000 buy furniture secondhand.
Currently, consumers rely on third-party marketplaces—such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist—to buy and sell pre-owned goods. These marketplaces can be unreliable and large items can be hard to transport.
For retailers, investing in recommerce is a significant opportunity to acquire new customers, increase lifetime customer value and drive revenue.
3. An Improved In-Store Experience
Despite the growth of ecommerce, physical retail will remain a vital channel for furniture brands in 2023. Today, 76% of consumers prefer to shop in person because they want to touch and see the products.
Since the consumer journey now starts online, shoppers expect a different store experience. They want to use stores to ask questions and affirm their decisions. As a result, stores are an opportunity to facilitate education, drive conversion and increase brand loyalty.
For retailers, reimagining the furniture store experience will be critical. This includes empowering design consultants with as much information as possible about the customer and the products. And in-store experiences and events will help brands drive more engagement with products.
UK retailer Loaf uses its showrooms—called ‘slowrooms’—to showcase its laid-back furniture brand. Each Loaf Shack is different, equipped with mattress-testing areas, retro games, ice cream parlors and coloring stations. The stores encourage shoppers to spend time interacting with products.
Enhance the Furniture Shopping Experience with Salesfloor
While the home furniture industry will continue to evolve, one thing is clear. Consumers expect a more seamless, personalized and sustainable experience.
Salesfloor is an all-in-one customer service platform designed to enhance the customer experience. Our appointment shopping tools make it easy to connect with customers on or offline. And our customer management system empowers sales associates with data and AI-powered recommendations to provide a more personalized experience.
Request a demo today to see how Salesfloor helps furniture brands reimagine the customer experience.