[Video] Discovery Den: Home Furnishings Sector Report

By Aislin Ward
29th January 2024

Our homes, living spaces and the way we use them has changed significantly in the past few years, driven by the pandemic, a desire for sustainability and most recently the cost-of-living crisis.

In line with this, our Solutions Director, Dan Pratt, recently investigated the home furnishings sector in a Trends That Matter report, before going on to discuss the findings in more depth alongside Operations Director, Meghan Burton, in the video below.

The four key points to take away from the report are as follows:

1. Innovation is key.

In a period where consumers need multifunctionality in not only their homes but also their furniture, the brands who are continuing to succeed in the space are those that are innovating.

Ikea is an absolute stand out brand as far as innovation is concerned as they have found ways to make taking ownership of your design really accessible.

From the Kreativ showrooms and room scanner built into their shopping app helping consumers visualise Ikea products in their spaces before making a purchase, to the University Starter kits that shows Ikea understands its audience and supports them through each stage.

2. Differentiation is brave.

When it comes to branding within this sector, we saw a lot of the same ‘making a house a home’ style straplines. When everyone is producing similar content with similar messaging, it can be hard to cut through and stand out, which in such a competitive market, is key.

One method that has proven successful for emergent brands is taking a more direct to consumer approach and are really dominating social media with a strong brand personality. Although this is often on a different scale of brand growth as the brands in question are smaller, there are lesson to be learned here.

Focusing the content on consumer emotions rather than the hard sell appears to be another strategy that is really working for brands like:

3. The omni-channel experience is critical.

In the last 12 months, 48% of Brits bought furniture, and of those customers, 42% purchased in-store, while 31% bought online via a retailers’ website. During the pandemic there was, of course, a boom in online sales but this peak appears to very much be over, with a return to in-store shopping re-emerging.

This means it’s more important than ever to have both an on and offline presence, and for the two elements to be cohesive. Dunelm is a great example of this, showing consistent growth after a digital transformation back in 2018.

Ensuring that the buyer’s journey is as straight-forward as possible is also key here, as with so many brand options available to choose from, consumers are more likely to abandon a cart if they can’t find all the information easily.

4. There is still a market for luxury.

Although consumers may not have as much spending power in the current market, it is still buoyant enough to support purchases of smaller luxury items.

One brand we found that seems to resonate with customers is William Wood mirrors. The retailer has a very clear focus on providing elegance to the home, gaining good traction on TikTok, a channel which currently has the highest engagement rate for home décor content.

Make sure to check out the full report for all of Dan’s insights and watch the video below to hear Dan discuss his findings in more detail.

This video covers questions such as:

  • What are the linger impacts of the pandemic and the work-from-home movement?
  • How has the cost-of-living crisis affected the sector?
  • Given the nature of furniture being more investment pieces, how can brands tap into conversations around trending aesthetics?

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