The furniture market has thrived throughout the course of the pandemic, as people put more money into their homes. Two years later, even as more Americans resume public activities and as supply chain issues rage, all signs point towards a continued healthy demand for home furnishings.
A recent CivicScience survey of more than 3,300 U.S. adults finds that over 60% plan to buy furniture this year.
Placing that into context, CivicScience tracking shows that furniture buying intent has remained buoyant over the past six months. Looking at week-over-week survey results, intent to buy does not appear to be negatively impacted by the current conflict in Ukraine, as of time of writing.
However, we’ll be watching these lines closely in the days/weeks ahead. At present, what trends can retailers expect to see going forward? Read on for the latest updates, as well as data on how supply chain issues are impacting consumer choices.
An overview of spending expectations among buyers shows that the average U.S. adult intends to spend less than $3,000 on furniture this year. More than one-third plan to spend $500 or less. Tracking shows that expectations for spending have largely remained consistent over the last six months.
Online vs. In-store Purchases
Online purchasing remains strong. Experience with online furniture buying has grown by 3 percentage points since the third quarter of 2020. Recent data show that 37% of people have made a furniture purchase based exclusively on an online-only shopping experience and transaction, indicating moderate growth over the course of 2021. Intent to try online buying isn’t losing steam, either.
Looking at totals for overall purchases, nearly 20% of most-recent furniture purchases were made online, while 70% were made in-store. Of course, most-recent purchases could account for pre-pandemic purchases. However, buying furniture online – whether from online-only retailers such as Wayfair.com and Overstock.com, or hybrid retailers such as IKEA and Ethan Allen – is likely being somewhat tempered by a return to in-store shopping, as people head back to showrooms to physically try before buying.
AR App Adoption
Experience using augmented reality apps for virtual trying-before-buying has grown five percentage points since January, but may be nearing saturation. Recent data show that intent to use AR apps for shopping is currently trending downward, which may also be related to increasing comfort with in-store shopping.
White Glove Delivery Service
A small percentage (15%) of buyers have used a white glove delivery service for professional in-home furniture set-up, while 9% intend to try one in the future.
Previous online furniture buyers are significantly more likely than store shoppers to use a white glove service and to plan on trying one.
Brands In Demand
Here’s a quick look at popularity among four leading retailers who exclusively sell home furnishings and home goods (versus big-box, discount, or department stores). IKEA remains highly beloved among furniture retailers year-over-year. Both IKEA and Ethan Allen lead with an edge in favorability over online-only retailers Wayfair.com and Overstock.com.
Supply Chain Disruptions
While demand for furniture remains strong, strained supply lines are bound to have significant impacts on buyer choices.
Survey findings reveal that nearly two-thirds of buyers have encountered inventory shortages and/or out-of-stock items when attempting to make a recent furniture purchase.
Both online and in-store buyers have been impacted – 77% of affected shoppers were making an in-store purchase, while 57% were making an online purchase.
Consumer Response to Supply Chain Problems
Survey findings show that for nearly 40% of respondents, furniture is something worth waiting for – and the majority of “waiters” would wait more than two weeks for their first-choice item(s) to become available. On the flip side, more than 60% would choose to abandon either their first-choice item or first-choice retailer when encountering supply chain issues. Nearly one-third of shoppers would shop with a different retailer.
Consumer response to supply chain disruptions varies drastically depending on age. Young adults are significantly more likely to shop for a different item with the same retailer, whereas adults ages 35 and older are much more likely to wait more than two weeks for their first-choice to become available. Young adults are also more likely to turn to the used furniture market, such as through Facebook Marketplace.
CivicScience has seen similar patterns play out in the auto market, suggesting that certain types of consumers are likely to adapt in certain ways to supply chain issues in durable goods markets. We’ll be covering more on this in the months ahead – stay tuned.