Furniture retail market plays an essential role in the broader economy. It’s also a crucial pointer of the UK consumer markets in general. The marketresearch.com suggests that the worldwide market for furniture and floor coverage alone is estimated to reach $700 billion in the next one year. Individuals are influenced by demographics and lifestyle changes when it comes to buying and choosing the design of their furniture.
Home Office Furniture
There is a significant increase in people working from home thanks to the ongoing rail disputes. And that has led to a rise in demand for home office furniture. In fact, statistics say that between the year 2014 and the end of 2019, the global market will increase by 5.58%.
There will always be an increase in demand for small household. The growth of one or two persons alone means that there will be more demand for small and portable furniture. In UK alone, 20.2 million UK households were single occupancy in 1981. And in 2018, the numbers increased to 27 million households, with 28% consisting of just one person.
What Impact Does Growth in Renting Have?
Nowadays, individuals prefer to avoid large, long-lasting purchases due to the shift in housing tenure. UK has seen a 28.3% growth in the private rented sector since year 2014. Research claims that a typical owner occupier leaves in their house for at least 13 years while a renter, on the other hand, will stay for a maximum of 17 months mostly.
So this means that individuals who have a longer-term view of their housing are most likely to invest in items of higher value as compared to those who readily move from house to house after a few years.
Sales of Retail Furniture in 2018
In the April edition of Furniture News, Anthony Creaby from gfk.com revealed the following statistics of last weeks of 2016.
• The value of upholstered furniture declined by 3%. While that of the living and dining room furniture sales saw a 7% decline. And bedroom furniture sales were not spared as they experienced a 4% decrease.
• But on the positive side, there was growth in outdoor and home office furniture by 17% and 4% respectively.
Even though the ratio of sale to value decreased, that of sale to volume increased by an overall of 2%, with a 4% increase in the sale of upholstered furniture year by year. Gfk alluded that that growth was influenced by a rise in corner sofas and three seater sofas by 44% and 32% respectively. People, after all, wanted somewhere to chill and relax after spending all those hours working in home office.
Furniture Retail Sales in 2019
There was a 6.6% downturn in volume and 6.2% of value in January and February. But, there was still some growth for some seasonal items such as garden benches and garden tables by 53% and 21% respectively. It turns out that consumers are more positive about the weather than economy.
Sales of Luxury Furniture
This market is expected to grow by at least 4% between 2015-2019 globally. Statistics from marketresearch.com places Europe as the largest market for luxury furniture. Apparently, one will use a different strategy and rules to market high-end furniture to high net worth persons.
What about Online Retail?
Europe’s and North America’s economies heavily rely on the online retail market to grow. Here is a pattern of online retail growth for these two countries.
UK and Germany take the highest share of retail online, but other European countries are also expected to increase their shares in this market too. With many online companies offering 24 hour delivery, ordering online often means you get your items faster than if you buy locally.
The annual growth rates for stores and online retailing has, for a long time, been ranging from 1.5% and 3.5% per year.
How Furniture Retailers are Impacting Consumer Buying
Furniture retailers understand how difficult it is for consumers to make a decision when buying large ticket items. And even though online stores continue to grow, customers will combine their online research with shop visits before they make purchases. Most consumers research and buy in physical stores other than online ones.
Price comparison is also a crucial stage in the buying journey. A majority of consumers compare prices online before purchasing. And many agree that they buy from a cheaper online store. But price is not the only factor. Also, online reviews play a significant role in driving sales. 68% of individuals say that they are most likely to purchase from a website with customer reviews.
This has therefore, made MINTEL retail multiples such as Oak Furniture, DFS, and SCS to combine store openings and online to drive their sales.
Some online retailers are investing in physical space to increase sales. For instance, recently, Home Living Direct turned a part of their warehouse into a showroom.
Consumers, therefore, buy online or in stores or in both depending on the preferences and price among other factors. However, it’s important for retailers to include digital marketing since it’ll not only help increase brand awareness and website traffic, but it also boosts multi-channel sales.