Furniture & Home Furnishings
The home furnishings retail industry allows consumers to make their homes truly their own with their very choices of furniture and décor to adorn them. Along with the struggling housing markets, so too are retailers of home furnishings and furniture. Except for huge sale events or the holiday bargains come Black Friday or Boxing Day, consumers continue to shy away from spending on furniture and home furnishings. With the signs of recovery, however, consumers are expected to begin comfortably spending again. Style, affordability and functionality are the main reasons consumers give for shopping lifestyle furniture stores, such as Ikea, Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware.
Demand for home furnishings is cyclical, influenced by housing starts, as desires to remodel and redesign are not necessary during slow economic times. Demand is also driven by consumer income. Large companies compete through volume purchasing, breadth of products, and effective merchandising and marketing. Small companies focus on a market segment and compete through depth of products and superior customer service. Competition for home furnishing stores includes department stores, mass merchandisers, home improvement stores, furniture makers that have their own stores, and online and mail order retailers.
Increased consumer interest in home decoration is fuelling new market growth. In particular, demand for organic home furnishing products is continuing to rise thanks to increased consumer awareness regarding the importance of choosing more environmentally friendly materials. Other factors driving market growth include availability of wider product ranges, regional market development and electronic media campaigns. Consumers are showing particular interest in natural products and alternative materials in the home furnishing products sector.