Furniture sales are still very much on the rise, even one full year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
One way this is evidenced is by direct-to-consumer furniture brand Industry West, which recently saw more than $900,000 in online sales during their one-week-long warehouse sale.
How’d they do it? It started with a unique marketing tactic: An “oops”-style message written in the iPhone Notes app with seemingly internal details about access to the discounted merchandise on the brand’s Instagram account.
The approach worked: Industry West was able to move hundreds of pieces of deadstock furniture to make room for fresh, new inventory. Over the course of the first few days, they averaged one order every five minutes—and 72% of shoppers were first-time buyers.
After the Instagram post took off, only then did the brand send out an email to its list of subscribers and turn on limited social ads promoting the remaining sale items.
It was a bold play, considering the logistical challenges such high order volumes presented within a short timeframe. But because they handle fulfillment in-house, Industry West is able to maintain a level of control that helped manage the uptick in demand.
“Under normal conditions, we would scale up our operations by adding a temporary labor force. Due to our internal COVID restriction, however, we only add temporary labor as a last resort,” said Industry West’s COO Sissy McQuaig.
“We closely sorted and monitored the influx of orders available for product picking and extended the delivery time of the warehouse sale orders to prioritize accordingly.”
The sell-through rate Industry West saw with this particular sale further illustrates the continued potential within the home furnishings vertical. Additional data projects that the furniture industry will see total revenues up 4% over that of 2020, nearing $120 billion total.
One factor driving this growth: many consumers are still staying home and want to make those home environments as enjoyable as possible.
Research from comscore shows that as of August 2020, 74.2 million American consumers completed a home remodel within the past 12 months, which is an increase of nearly 20% compared to that same timeframe last year.
More specifically, online spending within the furniture and appliances category shot up to a record-setting $12.1 billion in Q2 of 2020. This growth was unprecedented, producing a 50% increase compared to Q1 of 2020. Previous quarters’ historical growth averaged mere single digits.
The spending trend shows no signs of slowing, either: The same data set indicated tens of millions of Americans are “very likely” to purchase a new home within the next six months—meaning the trend has strong potential to continue on its upward trajectory.
Other retailers within this vertical are also witnessing the uptick in consumer spending, too.
Claus Villebro, President and CEO at outdoor furniture brand Royal Teak Collection, shared that his company has seen 300% year-over-year growth, leading to the brand contracting with three new factories (with two more in the works.)
“Outdoor living items have become the new toilet paper—you can’t seem to find or buy it anywhere,” he said. “Americans’ lifestyles are dramatically different right now—people are staying home and trying to enjoy those spaces to their fullest.”
But again, the increased demand often comes with challenges—like supply chain issues.
In Villebro’s experience, fabric and upholstery supplies have been a recurring obstacle, which is why he planned ahead and bought surplus quantities in bulk back in early 2020.
Direct-to-consumer outdoor furniture brand Ajna Living, which also sells the Royal Teak Collection, has taken steps to improve its supply chain in response to the increased demand as well.
“Uptick in demand forced us to make a decade’s worth of supply chain improvements in a matter of months. We upgraded to a larger factory and streamlined our fulfillment process so our orders ship out in a matter of days, not weeks,” said Taylor Doherty, Co-CEO of Ajna’s parent company, Highfive Brands.
Doherty also shared that Ajna Living is tentatively readying its supply chain to support 50% more growth this year.
Even the realm of furniture rentals is witnessing similar growth patterns. Fernish, for example, saw triple-digit revenue growth in 2020.
Home office items, in particular, have been popular: Fernish saw a 300% demand spike for home office items in 2020, which reflects consumers' ever-changing relationship with their homes in recent months.
It’s too soon to say if the dramatic demand for both indoor and outdoor furniture will continue throughout 2021, but in the meantime, brands like Industry West and others continue to capitalize on the opportunity to drive impressive sales within this vertical.
Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/kaleighmoore/2021/03/12/how-furniture-retailers-like-industry-west-are-capitalizing-on-continued-demand-for-home-furnishings/?sh=4fb6d16f4095