The Evolution of Furniture Ecommerce – What's In Store for 2024?
Furniture e-commerce has revolutionized how people buy and sell products, offering a convenient and efficient shopping experience through digital platforms. This process encompasses the entire journey, from browsing and selection to purchase and delivery.
As technology becomes an integral part of our lives, customers now rely heavily on their gadgets and gizmos, expecting nothing less than a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience. With such high expectations, businesses must bring their A-game to win over these tech-savvy shoppers.
From consumer preferences to market trends, we'll navigate a data-driven exploration for a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities set to define 2024.
With a significant population aged 25-64, online retailers should focus on improving their platforms to cater to this demographic's needs and preferences.
The global home furnishing market is substantial, with online revenue expected to reach $455.4 billion by 2025.
China and the United States dominate this industry, but developing countries like Guyana, Niger, and Egypt show remarkable growth potential due to factors like an emerging middle class and improved logistics.
While home furnishing holds a modest share of the e-retail market at 17.1% in 2022, it's projected to reach $87 billion by 2025 in the US, indicating positive growth.
Online home furnishing purchases are on the rise, with a 31% market share expected in 2023, driven by factors like large homes, advanced shipping, and demand for larger living spaces.
The furnishing market's fragmented nature presents opportunities for new, innovative e-commerce brands to enter and capture market share.
Trends for growth include 3D commerce, AI-powered technologies, synthetic computer vision, product customization, conversational commerce, recommerce, seamless checkout, omnichannel expansion, modular furniture, immersive showrooms, and direct-to-consumer strategies.
See how Zolak can help you power-up online furniture store for growth and revenue.
Part One: Furniture E-commerce Statistics & Size
Demographic Shifts and Their Implications
According to the United Nations, the population will predominantly comprise of individuals between the ages of 25 and 64. This demographic shift has significant implications for retailers. The 25-64 age group represents a prime target market for e-commerce furniture sales due to their typically higher disposable income and the likelihood of them setting up their own homes or apartments.
As a result, this shift suggests a potential increase in product demand for online retailers. To take advantage of this trend, retailers should focus on improving their ecommerce platforms and user experiences to cater to the preferences and needs of this age group.
Home Furnishing Competitive Market Share Statistics
Now, let's talk numbers.
The home furnishing market, a significant player in the e-commerce landscape, boasts substantial online revenue. The global online revenue for furniture and appliances currently stands at an impressive $415 billion. Anticipate further growth, as projections suggest that by 2025, this figure is poised to surge to $455.4 billion.
This trend underscores the escalating influence of e-commerce within the home furnishing sector. It highlights the industry's robust online presence and the continuous expansion of digital transactions.
When it comes to the global market value in the home furnishing industry, China and the United States stand tall as the frontrunners, leaving other countries behind. In fact, their dominance is quite significant, both currently and in the foreseeable future.
However, if we shift our focus to growth rates expressed in percentages, a different narrative emerges. In this sense, developing countries, such as Guyana, Niger, and Egypt, are projected to experience explosive growth in the home furnishing market. These nations are expected to undergo remarkable advancements and expansions in the industry, showcasing their potential to emerge as key players on the global stage.
The observed disparity in the global home furnishing market can be attributed to three key factors that contribute to varying growth rates across countries:
- Emerging middle class.
- Improved logistics and shipping infrastructures.
- Globalization and free-trade agreements.
Furniture E-commerce Market Share Statistics
Home furnishing holds a modest share of the market, accounting for only 17.1% of the e-retail industry in 2022. Projections indicate a slight decrease in market share, with expectations that it will reach 15.7% by 2025.
Despite a slight decline in percentage terms, there is an expected growth in absolute values in the online furnishing market. It is projected to reach $87 billion by 2025 in the US. This indicates that while the market share within the e-retail sector may not be substantial, the industry is experiencing positive growth.
Furniture Demand Statistics
The share of online home furnishing purchases is steadily rising and is expected to reach the 31% mark starting in 2023. This indicates a growing preference among consumers for online shopping in the home furnishing sector.
In particular, the United States showcases a consistent demand for home furnishing goods, and there are several reasons behind this trend:
- Large homes and apartments. With ample living spaces, consumers seek a variety of furniture and décor items to enhance and personalize their homes.
- Advance shipping infrastructure. Fast and reliable shipping options contribute to the convenience of online shopping, encouraging consumers to explore and purchase a wide range of products.
- Great demand for property purchases and larger living spaces. As individuals invest in real estate and seek spacious accommodations, the demand for furniture and related items through e-commerce channels continues to thrive.
Trends in Online Searches for Furniture
While other industries may have a majority of people searching for information, in the furnishing sector, it's a different story. A whopping 62.3% of online searches for furniture are all about transactions.
As users navigate search engines with a clear inclination towards transactions, it emphasizes the importance of an optimized and user-friendly e-commerce experience within the furnishing sector. This unique pattern further accentuates the significance of understanding and catering to the distinct needs and preferences of consumers in the furniture e-commerce landscape.
Why Now is the Time to Follow Trends
Unlike other industries, the home furnishing market is characterized by a fragmented competitive landscape, meaning that no single brand or company dominates the market. Currently, 55% of the market in the United States is commanded by 11 brands, primarily in retail. In contrast, the pet industry is much more concentrated, with only two brands controlling approximately 40% of the market.
The fragmented competition in the home furnishing industry indicates a lack of strong customer loyalty among consumers. This presents a ripe opportunity for disruption and for new or lesser-known home furnishing brands to make a mark. With low saturation in terms of dominant market players, there is ample room for innovative companies to enter the market, differentiate themselves, and capture market share.
Part Two. Furniture E-commerce Growth Formula and Trends
The eternal question revolves around how to market your furnishing e-commerce business and grow profitably.
Shopping for home furnishings is often viewed as a personal experience that engages multiple senses. The sensory elements of sight, touch, and even smell play a vital role in the decision-making process regarding purchases from furniture stores, whether they are brick and mortar stores or online platforms. It allows customers to assess the quality, comfort, and aesthetic appeal of the products before buying furniture online.
Marketing strategies involve a holistic approach, starting from attracting potential customers through various channels and concluding with a robust system that enhances customer lifetime value.
The furniture e-commerce trends we will mention in this section have significant implications for both the conversion rate (CR) and lifetime value (LTV) of this formula.
One of the major challenges in e-commerce, whether for shoppers browsing furniture online or in physical stores, has been the difficulty of visualizing how a product will fit into their living spaces.
Leading retailers have already embraced 3D e-commerce and witnessed remarkable results in boosting online sales. By integrating 3D models into their e-commerce online furniture sites, they offer consumers a truly interactive and engaging shopping experience. Users can rotate, zoom, and examine items from all perspectives, thereby gaining a comprehensive understanding of the product's design, texture, and dimensions. Moreover, by employing AR technology, shoppers can virtually place furniture in their rooms, ensuring a perfect fit and visualizing the overall aesthetic before making a purchase.
Wayfair's implementation of the 3D View in Room feature in their app is a great example of how augmented reality (AR) can enhance the online shopping experience for home furnishings. By leveraging AR technology, Wayfair allows users to visualize and compare different home decor objects by virtually placing them in their own living spaces.
The success of Wayfair's app, with over 1 million downloads and recognition as the "Best Shopping App" in the Mobile Star Awards, demonstrates the appeal and value of incorporating interactive and immersive features into e-commerce platforms.
A significant challenge in online shopping is the vast array of choices offered by furniture stores, which can make it difficult for shoppers to find products that match their preferences and needs.
AI-Powered technologies, such as machine learning algorithms and data analytics, offer personalized and tailored experiences to furniture shoppers. By analyzing user shopping behavior, preferences, and past purchases, AI algorithms can recommend products that align with the customer's style and requirements. Furthermore, AI-driven virtual room planning tools enable customers to visualize and simulate how different products would look in their own spaces, minimizing the risk of poor choices and enhancing confidence in purchasing.
One successful example is Mustard Made, a premium locker brand that provides personalized recommendations based on customers' browsing history. By delivering a more customized shopping experience, Mustard Made witnessed a 15% increase in average order value and a remarkable 158% revenue growth.
Synthetic Computer Vision
Synthetic computer vision technology enables customers to visualize and interact with products in a virtual environment. Furthermore, it generates exceptionally lifelike representations of furniture items through the application of advanced rendering methods and the integration of precise measurements, textures, and realistic lighting effects.
Here are two potential use cases and opportunities that this technology can offer:
Virtual showrooms and catalogs. Retailers can use synthetic computer vision to build virtual showrooms or catalogs, allowing customers to explore a broad range of products digitally, viewing them from different angles and settings.
Virtual try out shopping experience. Synthetic computer vision can be integrated into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications, enabling users to place furniture items in real-world environments virtually.
The significant investment, exceeding $15 billion, underscores investors' confidence in the capabilities and prospective growth of computer vision technology. Crunchbase data reveals a robust landscape, with more than 2,100 startups operating in this domain, indicating pronounced interest in harnessing computer vision across various industries. This fervent interest extends to the e-commerce sector, where leveraging computer vision technologies is becoming increasingly prevalent.
Passively browsing through predefined product catalogs on online stores can create a detached and impersonal shopping experience, impacting the overall business model. Online shoppers seek deeper customer engagement and a sense of involvement when making purchasing decisions for a particular product.
According to Deloitte, 71% of consumers who customize a product stated they would be prepared to pay a premium price.
Incorporating product customization into the e-commerce landscape empowers clients by presenting a spectrum of options to personalize and tailor products to their specific requirements.
Whether selecting colors, materials, sizes, or finishes, and even adding custom engravings or embossments, consumers actively participate in the design process. This hands-on engagement establishes a profound connection between consumers and brands, fostering a sense of co-creation and emotional investment.
A prime example of this approach is evident in the strategies employed by Ethan Allen, which leverages advanced tools to showcase customization options. This includes providing customers with 360-degree views, alternate image angles, and high-quality/4K imagery. These enhancements not only enrich the overall appeal of product pages but also cater specifically to interior design enthusiasts and those seeking a personalized business model within the expansive realm of e-commerce.
Traditional e-commerce experiences often need more face-to-face interactions, leaving customers feeling disconnected and impersonalized.
Conversational commerce uses messaging platforms, chatbots, or virtual assistants to facilitate personalized interactions between shoppers and businesses. This enables customers to get recommendations, ask questions, and make purchases directly within the conversation, streamlining the process.
According to a survey by Twilio, 9 out of 10 consumers want to use messaging to communicate with businesses. Similarly, another study by Juniper Research indicated how chatbot-based retail sales are expected to reach $112 billion by 2023, representing a growth of over 160% from 2019.
According to CBRE, e-commerce faces a staggering 30% return rate, posing a significant challenge for retailers. Unlike some industries where buying multiple sizes or variations is common, these returns create headaches for online sellers.
The data from the 2018 Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Americans generate a massive 12 million tons of furnishing waste, with over 80% ending up in landfills, intensifying environmental concerns.
Recommerce promotes the extension of product lifecycles by offering pre-owned items a second chance. It provides a furniture ecommerce platform for consumers to sell or donate items they no longer need, thereby reducing the amount of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.
By offering dedicated furniture e-commerce platforms, you minimize the environmental impact associated with discarded items. This helps divert them from landfills and promotes a more sustainable and circular economy within the realm of furniture commerce.
To succeed in this eco-friendly market, retailers must ensure the quality of resale items, provide transparent product histories, and offer competitive pricing. This eco-friendly approach not only benefits the environment but also aligns with the increasing demand for sustainability in the e-commerce industry.
Seamless Checkout Experience
According to a study by Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57%, with a significant portion attributed to a complicated or lengthy checkout process.
When a customer leaves a cart without completing the purchase on the furniture website, understanding their reasons can be challenging. Did they require additional research? Was it the price that deterred them? Perhaps shipping times played a role, or maybe they got distracted.
To reduce cart abandonment and improve the checkout process, retailers are implementing seamless checkout experiences. This includes features like guest checkout, one-click payments, and simplified form fields to streamline the purchasing process and minimize friction for customers.
One example is the "Buy Now" button on platforms like Amazon, allowing customers to make instant purchases with minimal steps. This demonstrates how simplicity should be at the core of your strategy.
Smooth Omnichannel Expansion
A study by Harvard Business Review found that companies with robust omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for those with weak omnichannel strategies.
Cunsumers often face challenges when transitioning from one channel to another, such as starting a purchase online and completing it in-store. Inconsistent experiences across different channels can leave consumers feeling disconnected and frustrated.
Omnichannel experience ensures consistency by aligning messaging, branding, and customer interactions across all touchpoints. Whether a customer interacts with a brand through a website, mobile app, social media, physical store, or customer service, the experience remains cohesive and seamless.
For example, a customer can browse products online, add items to their cart, and later complete the purchase in a physical store. Integration of inventory systems and customer data ensures that the customer's preferences, shopping history, and shopping cart are accessible across channels. This seamless transition enhances convenience, saves time, and encourages customers to engage with the brand through their preferred channels.
According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global modular furnishing market is expected to reach $58.6 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 7.2% from 2020 to 2027.
The main problem for customers is that traditional furniture often comes with fixed designs that limit flexibility and adaptability to evolving needs.
Modular furniture offers the flexibility to adapt to changing needs and lifestyles when shopping within the furniture e-commerce category. The modular design allows users to rearrange modules or add/remove components to create different configurations, such as extending a sofa, reconfiguring a shelving system, or transforming a bed into a workspace. This adaptability ensures that products can evolve with changing needs, making it a practical choice for individuals and families who require versatile solutions for their living spaces.
According to Baymard, slow delivery services rank among the leading factors contributing to cart abandonment for customers engaging in furniture e-commerce.
Customers increasingly expect faster delivery times, and delays can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. Moreover, customers desire flexibility in choosing delivery time slots and locations that suit their schedules and preferences.
To keep up with evolving furniture e-commerce trends and enhance the last-mile experience, retailers are implementing innovative solutions such as same-day or next-day delivery options, real-time delivery tracking, and flexible delivery time slots. Companies like Wayfair have partnered with third-party logistics providers to optimize their last-mile delivery capabilities, ensuring faster and more convenient customer delivery experiences.
Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Strategies
The projected growth of US digital D2C sales, estimated to reach $175 billion by 2023, according to eMarketer, presents a significant market opportunity for DTC brands in the home furnishing industry.
The main problem for shoppers is that traditional retail models often involve multiple layers of distributors and retailers, leading to price markups on products.
DTC eliminates intermediaries, allowing e-commerce furniture brands to sell products directly to consumers at competitive prices. Additionally, the transparency of DTC models enables brands to communicate the value proposition and craftsmanship behind their products, enhancing perceived value and customer trust.
Casper has indeed emerged as a successful disruptor in both the home furnishing space and the broader retail market. With a strategic focus and disciplined approach, Casper initially launched with a limited range of SKUs, allowing brands to prioritize delivering an exceptional customer experience.
Another critical aspect of Casper's success is its ability to stand out from traditional retail competition by offering superior delivery options. By leveraging the direct-to-consumer model, Casper streamlined the logistics delivery. This emphasis on a seamless delivery experience has set Casper apart from brick-and-mortar retailers and enhanced its value proposition for customers.
While specific statistics on immersive showrooms may be limited, a survey by GfK found that 47% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they can experience it through virtual or augmented reality.
Immersive showrooms within the realm of furniture e-commerce harness cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) to address the visualization challenge inherent in the online furniture shopping experience.
Customers can virtually place furnishings items in their living spaces, experiencing the scale, proportions, and aesthetics before purchasing. With realistic 3D visualizations, customers can explore different design options, swap colors and finishes, and create a truly personalized and immersive shopping experience.
Moreover, immersive showrooms leverage digital platforms to offer an infinite catalog of furnishings options. Customers can explore various products, styles, and designs that may not be physically present in the showroom. Through interactive touchscreens or mobile devices, customers can access the full range of available furnishings, enabling them to find the perfect pieces that suit their preferences and needs.
Final Thoughts on Furniture in E-commerce
The furniture e-commerce is poised for a period of gradual and consistent growth in the upcoming years. However, the primary focus should be on more than just expanding but rather on maximizing profitability.
How to attract more customers? What sets your e-commerce website for selling furniture apart from competitors? Why would consumers choose your site instead of choosing a rivals?
These are essential questions that every e-commerce retailer should be asking themselves.
Zolak helps brands improve their e-commerce furniture store experience, by providing accurate 3D product visualization in pre-designed interiors or customers' homes.
Zolak leverages ARKitScenes and synthetic data generated from real interiors to guarantee realism and accuracy. The data is carefully curated and filtered, ensuring that only high-quality and reliable information is used. This meticulous attention to detail leads to virtual product visualizations that are incredibly lifelike and immersive for customers.
If you're interested in experiencing the benefits of Zolak firsthand, try it yourself.