How did the home office furniture industry respond?
The sudden nationwide need for home office furniture such as desks, chairs, and cabinets required manufacturers and retailers to adapt quickly. Aside from expanding their home office selection and offering enhanced financing options, nearly 70 percent of furniture retailers in the U.S. increased their e-commerce focus. This last strategy was vital due to the forced closure of furniture stores in many parts of the country. In fact, retail sales of furniture stores dropped by nearly 60 percent in April 2020, compared to the year before. Even though plummeting retail sales caused revenue dips for market leaders in office furniture manufacturing and retail, the home office industry became more profitable than ever. For instance, the major office furniture chain Herman Miller reported sales growth rates of over 300 percent for home office furniture.
The post-COVID-19 future of home office furniture
The future office environment is likely to be one in which work-from-home and working from the office coexist. Just before the pandemic, a survey indicated that more than one third of U.S. companies operating in the digital sphere had a “hybrid remote” work policy, with another 45 percent of companies adopting a “100 percent remote” approach. Similar observations can be made from a June 2020 survey, conducted just after the first coronavirus wave. It revealed that nearly half of U.S. employees would prefer a combination of working from home and working from the office. In the meantime, since many working Americans now have a home office setup, this particular branch of the furniture industry is worth focusing on for manufacturers and retailers alike.