With the force of the global pandemic, the furniture industry has been impacted due to the strict government policies and lockdown protocols, where individuals were expected to stay at home in order to avoid the exposure of the virus.
The demand for furniture dropped in 2020 as offices and public places were closed for a long period of time due to the massive spread of COVID-19, which descended the demand for furniture supply. However, it has also accelerated furniture e-commerce as the customers were skeptical about retail shopping in order to maintain social distancing guidelines and they found an easier method to purchase their desired products from the comfort and safety of their homes.
People are getting accustomed to working from home scenarios, they have been trying to find a new work-life balance. In the new age of remote working, a larger audience is gravitating towards smart furniture. This type of furniture serves more than one purpose, as we are realizing that we need flexible and transformative furniture that is multifunctional and agile. Professionals who work from home for extended periods of time choose to pick furniture that would effectively be workstations and is compatible with other homely purposes to improve their ability to work for long hours.
Several new market trends have emerged due to Covid-19, allowing manufacturers to explore new commercial opportunities. Interestingly, kids’ furniture has also seen a rising demand due to the lockdown situation. Post the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, demand for home office furniture like study tables, office chairs, laptop tables, and other items has nearly tripled and this is expected to continue at least till the end of 2021.
According to reports, “India's work-from-home furniture market is speculated to grow from a $2.22 billion in 2021 to $3.49 billion by 2026 majorly on a rising number of companies providing an option of working from home to their employees adopting cloud-based solutions. Consumer preference for premium quality products, increasing urban population, and rising disposable income are a few other factors that are positively influencing the furniture market. It will change the lifestyle of consumers, especially due to lockdown,”
According to Spacewood, a premium brand, and manufacturer of Modular Furniture, “The Indian e-commerce market was valued at $25.7 billion as of FY20, having grown at CAGR of over 35 percent, and is expected to reach $99 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 27 percent over a period of 2019-2024.
While factors like increased broadband connectivity, smartphones, and the rise of the digital economy offer strong supportive infrastructure, innovations on part of e-retailers, using emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality, have further helped push newer categories on the e-commerce platform, contributing to the growth.”
Listed here are some key factors on how e-commerce is set to play a role in furniture industry growth:
Omnichannel Sales - Several furniture stores started their online journey where they focused on their online presence and tried to make it grow rigorously, this resulted in most furniture brands opting for an omnichannel approach to reach a more significant mass as it is considered one of the easiest ways to grow the business even in the middle of a calamity.
A huge benefit of the D2C e-commerce strategy is that manufacturers get complete control of all their activities, from packaging to marketing. Unlike traditional marketing, many brands have opted for different channels to connect with their consumers.
The Boom of Social Media - Customers use different social media mediums such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp to find different furniture brands pages and directly contact the manufacturer for any queries regarding the product or the company.
Brands get frequent feedbacks which helps them to improve their services alongside many other social media channels have also made a path for selling their craft and work easily. D2C brands nowadays have websites where they can easily connect with consumers.
Ingenious E-retail - The technology today is so advanced that it makes everything a lot easier during these difficult times.
The customers can now see how a new sofa would look in their apartment, in real-time and without any risk that they are paying for something that doesn’t fit. The possibility to ‘try before you buy’ is very important, especially for big-ticket items. This way, customers can try out their desired furniture, not worrying about bad decisions, which removes a huge weight from their shoulders before making the big purchase.
Virtual Consulting Services - Customers can get advice and guidance on choosing the right furniture by using the online chat or reaching out to furniture company’s customer service by phone, online chat, video call, etc which saves up their time and energy while relaxing at home.
Moving forward, it is evident that furniture e-commerce is going to become bigger. Moreover, a contactless world (which has become a norm) has further given the industry space an impetus and this is how the online furniture market is making the sector more organized.