We've left 2020, and, say what you want about this wholly challenging, demanding, and difficult year — it was a year that brought forth many changes that will shape future trends in the marketplace for numerous industries. This is especially true in the furniture industry, where trends come and go in both style and substance as well as in the way furniture is marketed to consumers.
2021 for the furniture industry will be interesting, to say the least. Consumer wants and needs have changed drastically over the last year, and while they, of course, will always need furniture, the way they shop for it presents new challenges for the industry. Brands will need to adapt to the wants and needs of consumers that have fuelled the development of some of the emerging trends if they wish to remain competitive. Brands must also embrace new trends and let go of faltering fads, as well as take advantage of the latest technologies in order to capitalize on a growing digital marketplace.
Sustainability has become an important topic in many different industries, and furniture is no exception.
“Furniture manufacturers have been influenced by business and consumer interest in green products and an increased focus on sustainability,” the report notes.
To reduce environmental impact, furniture can be made with recycled materials or more sustainable woods such as acacia, bamboo, or reclaimed wood.
Some well-known furniture brands offer product lines that promote sustainability. For example, Pottery Barn offers reclaimed wood furniture made with salvaged materials, and Crate & Barrel sells furniture with frames that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Smart furniture has been around for some time but the demand for products in this market has also been growing, especially now that more individuals are working from home. Smart furniture, which allows for a number of functional activities, such as charging mobile devices, browsing the Internet, listening to the news or radio, and more, is a rapidly growing market, and is considered by many as the future of furniture.
Savvy brands already offering smart furniture solutions to meet the demands of changing lifestyles are also utilizing the above-mentioned technologies to showcase their products. This, of course, makes perfect sense because the primary market for smart furniture also expects to be able to view and envision these products in photorealistic quality. ImageScripting is ideally suited to this, because the technology allows for consumers to view all the hidden components built into smart furniture.
Perhaps the most notable and disruptive shift is the rise of e-commerce in the furniture industry. Projections cited in the report E-Commerce: United States expect furniture and furnishings to be the fastest-growing segment of e-commerce sales through 2022.
As part of the “Amazon effect,” the retail market is shifting increasingly online through popular sites like Wayfair, Overstock.com, and Joss & Maine. Younger consumers, such as millennials, are more willing to buy items online because of the convenience, even if they can’t see and feel the products ahead of time.
In 2020, free shipping is no longer a perk retailers can throw in to sweeten a deal 43 percent of shoppers absolutely expect free shipping to be a part of every purchase they make, and the same number expect their purchases to arrive within three days.
Ecommerce furniture retailers like Wayfair and Allmodern are already leading the way on this trend, offering the fast, free shipping that’s now become the norm.
Digital transformation is currently by far the biggest challenge for the stationary furniture trade, but it also offers many opportunities. Ultimately, customers show how they want the optimal shopping experience: consistent and beyond the categories online, offline, mobile. For the customers of tomorrow, there is no longer any separation between the real world and the digital world. The sooner a stationary furniture store is modernised in this way, the better prepared it will be for the challenges of the future.
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