The outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020 has affected many industries like automobiles, airlines, travel and tourism, and restaurants. Amidst that, the home furnishing industry saw a gradual yet considerable growth as people were confined to their homes; hence spent much more time staying home than before. The work from home (WFH) evolved drastically that brought a new approach and style to work.
People paid more attention to home improvements and home renovation as their drawing rooms, study, bedrooms turned into new office space. Virtual meets became the new way to connect with colleagues and relatives; hence the ambiance or the background look and feel gained attention.
With the increasing roles of our home as a workspace and, education center, the need for home furnishing has also increased.
Here is how the pandemic has impacted the home furnishing industry and the emerging ideas adopted by the businesses:-
The Shift to Hybrid Business Models: Hygiene and social distancing becoming the new normal, people prefer to buy products with minimal physical contact. There has been a huge shift to online shopping as it’s not only safe, but the other convenience it offers to consumers like doorstep delivery, hassle-free return, and easy refund was a sure thing to look at.
A study reveals, a 12 percent increase in first-time online buyers during the initial months of global quarantine. This is because people felt more connected to socially active brands as the internet was the main information and awareness driver. This led to the rise of brands revamping their digital and social strategies. Wherein companies realized that more engaging and continuous content delivery will lead to a focused fan base which will eventually become their ideal customers.
As trade fairs, exhibitions, and promotional events continue to stay canceled, the brands focused to enhance their virtual product presence, and got more innovative with what they wanted their audience to see.
Home furnishing brands are focusing on more innovative and interactive ideas to bring their products to life. Investing heavily in product photography with creative backdrops, 3D modeling and, concept shoots to bring out the real essence and depth of the product is a must. While displaying a product with a white background on sites is now a cliché.
To capture a wider audience and helping them to connect with their products, businesses elevated their strategies to adopt more and more technology. Brands are trying to give a more realistic product experience to their customers by integrating websites with Augmented Reality (AR) tools.
Now not only people can see different lifestyle concepts of the products, but also, they can try in their own space.
Since a humungous portion of the audience has increased their time on hand-held devices it was necessary to understand and give what people ideally want to see.
Nowadays major social media strategies are weaved around capturing the real moments of their consumers with the product. Consumers are also more than happy to share reels and DIY videos with the branded products at various social handles.
For example, instead of showing a carpet stacked in the rack, it is shown with people using it and enjoying the comfort. This gives the audience a chance to see how the carpet will look in a real-life setting.
Brands have witnessed multiple opportunities for content being developed by their audience. They are providing home tours with products they are using, a lot of organic content coming in the way was a clear indication that how branding and marketing is not the one-sided ball game.
With Covid-19, people also realized the importance of optimum utilization of resources. There has been a shift in preference towards high-quality products, which can be used over a long period because people’s orientation is changing. They see it as an investment.
Consumers are more inclined to buy products that have a long life span rather than trendy products. So, businesses enhanced their focus on the quality of the products at affordable prices to retain their customers.
In simple terms, brands had to redesign their business model by reallocating their resources to adapt to the change in behavior of their consumers. Businesses have to be technologically advanced and progressive and agile to changing consumer demand and communication.
Impact of the Pandemic on Buying Preferences - The global effect of Covid-19 has led to a change in the perception of spending on home improvement and home solutions. As homes have become the hub of our life, there is a need to improvise and upgrade it.
The consumers will either go for a complete renovation of their homes only when necessary or postpone it. There is no part-refurbishing or renovating for every festive season.
People have understood the importance of savings. Investments are more focused on health and hygiene-related products. Products like sensor soap/sanitizer dispensers and products that improve bathroom hygiene experienced an increase in sales. Many home furnishing brands reported almost 80-100 percent of their pre-Covid business in September 2020 itself.
Extended working hours on a regular chair and a dining table, caused discomfort and reduced employee productivity as they faced health issues like back and neck pain. This led to an increased demand for home-office furniture like laptop tables, office chairs, office tables with drawers and this furniture has become a necessity of our daily life.
Being confined indoors, brought monotony to people’s life. Therefore, they chose to bring freshness and novelty to their space. The home furnishing industry has witnessed 2x sales, particularly in soft furnishings (cushions, throws, and rugs).
Brands that adapt to the changing trends and serve the changing needs of the customers will continue to boom while others have to revamp their business models. They are in a position to take serious decisions on retaining their brand image and customers.