Mainstream furniture e-commerce is yet to comeDespite sales figures, online sales of furniture and home furnishings still have a long way to go to prevail over the physical channel. In 2022, only 12 percent of online consumers in the United States mostly bought furniture and household goods online rather than offline. Additionally, when reviewing digital purchases made in the past 12 months, less than two out of ten U.S. internet users had acquired furniture and household goods online. At the same time, this is what makes it an e-commerce segment with ample potential to grow. Although mainstream adoption is lacking, there is a positive outlook for e-commerce furniture sales as return rates in this product category are quite low. A mere seven percent of U.S. digital buyers returned furniture or household items purchased online in the previous 12 months, compared to 26 percent of online fashion shoppers, the segment with the highest percentage of online returns.
Main player outlookShoppers being wary of committing to big-ticket purchases via the internet is perhaps a focal reason that online furniture is not as large as other e-commerce sectors. It is up to retailers to make potential buyers feel comfortable about shopping online for home goods. In the U.S., there are a handful of well-known brands that have managed this feat, and thus have captured consistent and loyal online shoppers. For example, Wayfair, with a revenue of nearly 14 billion U.S. dollars, was recognized by nearly eight in ten U.S. online furniture shoppers in a 2022 brand profile survey. The Home Depot, one of the leading retailers in the U.S., reported that around 14 percent of their total sales were made through e-commerce.
Other companies that offer online furniture shoppers to consumers, like IKEA and Overstock, were also well known among online shoppers. Nearly half of surveyed furniture e-commerce users reported that they liked IKEA, while 20 percent felt the same about Overstock.
Despite being reputable among consumers, the biggest players in the furniture e-commerce sector were unable to avoid the plethora of e-commerce layoffs that took place in 2022. With the worsened economic state following the COVID-19 pandemic and along with striking inflation rates, Wayfair, Home Depot, and Overstock all announced employee layoffs to some degree in the same year.