What’s next for the furniture retail industry in eCommerce?
With the recession being a thing of the past, the furniture and homeware industry is a good indicator of how the housing market largely recovered its losses. This is reflected in the slow but steady 3.4% YoY growth of furniture sales. However, furniture and home décor producers face new challenges posed by the digital transformation as an increasing number of consumers turn to the internet in search of their new candelabra. Can home and kitchen brands survive by relying solely on traditional distribution channels?
Sell furniture online vs on site
The short term answer – yes. The long term answer – definitely not.
According to statista.com, online furniture and homeware sales will see an average yearly growth of 10% worldwide. This means that the growth driven by eCommerce outperforms the overall market growth nearly three times! Considering the UK counts as the world’s 5th largest market in online-bought furniture, these numbers will possibly be even higher.
While the digital buyer penetration is expected to hit 11.5% in 2020, it is projected to reach nearly 18% over the next couple of years. Changing buying habits are mostly at fault here as online and mobile shopping has become millennials’ second nature. Product content such as high quality imagery and social proof in the form of customer reviews now serve as enough touchpoints for the consumer to make their purchase decision.
Indeed, the majority of consumers still say they prefer to shop for their furniture in stores, but the opposite trend is quickly turning the tide. It has been noticed by large retailers such as the Swedish giant IKEA or the American marketplace Wayfair, who have been investing heavily into their online presence and are securing ever larger market share in household eCommerce. IKEA reported a whopping 27% YoY(2019) online sales growth in the United Kingdom alone.
And the latest newcomer – you guessed it – is Amazon.
Home and Kitchen – Amazon’s new gold mine?
Amazon is working hard on becoming a marketplace with one of the largest Home and Kitchen catalogues. In 2018, it finally launched its first two privately owned labels, Rivet and Stone & Beam, followed by Alkove, Movian and two others in 2019. If Amazon demonstrates its willingness to enter this difficult line of business, it is high time to do the same.
Amazon’s success can largely be attributed to tackling one of the biggest challenges in the homeware industry – logistics. Amazon Prime’s solid infrastructure provides a seamless, quick delivery the customers demand and its free return process ensures that buyers are willing to spend larger sums on larger items without the need for inspecting it. This is good news for manufacturers who are currently considering their entry on Amazon as they can easily benefit from it.
Moreover, the marketplace arena fosters pricing competition, which in turn motivates buyers to shop for homeware items even in the world of extremely high property prices. However, this also means that retailers eager to follow suit need to be prepared for drastic changes in their business – especially in eCommerce management and marketing.
Launching a product on Amazon requires a completely new way of thinking about describing your products for potential customers, presenting them in a visually pleasing yet mobile-optimised way, and most importantly – making sure users find your products.
If you’d like to know the best strategies, meet us at one of the following events or talk with one of our experts right now. Let’s help you achieve success on Amazon together!