Everyone needs furniture. It’s an industry that’s been around for ages, and it’s not going anywhere. While specific applications and styles may change, we will always need a bed to rest in, a desk to work at, and a couch to lounge on.
While some things remain the same, there are indeed trends that are shaping the furniture industry and the way the industry is catering to consumers. Below we’ll outline some of the current trends and how the furniture industry is adapting to pave the way for higher customer service and satisfaction.
1. A Demand for Larger, Sturdier Furniture
Over the last few decades, the obesity rates here in the United States have skyrocketed. There isn’t simply one factor for this, but the numbers show that we’re heading speedily toward a reality where more of the country’s inhabitants are obese and overweight than are not. For the first time ever, in 2017, the obesity rate for the US hit above 40 percent of the population, landing at 42.4 percent.
What does this have to do with furniture? The health—and size—of our citizens affects almost every industry, including the furniture industry. When we’re thinking about furniture production, the end-user has to be kept in mind. And with consumers, on average, growing larger and larger, furniture has to keep up.
A standard office chair is designed to support about 250 pounds. But now we’re seeing furniture companies producing chairs that support 300 to 800 pounds. The expanded size and durability of our furniture, such as office chairs, directly result from health trends we see here in the United States. It’s crucial that furniture companies, those with both a commercial and a residential focus, are creating pieces that accommodate all of their clientele.
2. Flexible Workspaces
In the 80s and 90s, offices were cubicles that all looked the same: a desk, a chair. And if you had anything else, you brought it yourself from home. But now, we’re seeing greater flexibility in today’s workspaces. Advancing technology allows for greater mobility even within an office setting.
Office environments are leaning toward a more social, comfortable atmosphere. That means more open-concept designs, communal work and lounge spaces, and more comfortable furniture where teams can collaborate. These setups cater well to companies who want an office setting but also allow remote work opportunities. Because employees aren’t relegated to a desk in a set location, there’s a higher demand for furniture that allows flexibility in the workspace while still promoting productivity—and comfort.
3. The Increase of Remote Job Opportunities
Now more than ever, companies allow employees to work from home. This means fewer businesses utilize formal offices spaces. But it also means that these same companies may subsidize furniture purchases so their employees can have a workspace in their homes.
So while offices aren’t utilizing the furniture, companies selling furniture for residential workspace applications are seeing huge booms in sales. Home offices have been standard for years, but they’ve become the norm this year. Overstock.com noted that their home office furniture sales have risen more than 100 percent.
Furniture companies should take note. Customers will continue needing desks and desk chairs, sure. But as consumers work from home, they’re also looking for accessories: lamps, side tables, even comfy chairs to make their home offices feel more enjoyable and warm while still serving as a workspace conducive to productivity. The furniture industry can expect to see the need for home office furniture to continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
4. Eco-Friendly Consciousness
Consumers care about not only the quality of the furniture they purchase, but they’re paying more and more attention to the ethics behind their home furnishing purchases. As the years pass, the size of the United States’ eco-friendly furniture market grows. This is true for both the residential and commercial furniture markets.
Sustainability encompasses many factors in furniture production: environmental impact, treatment of workers producing the furniture, and harvesting raw materials, and all of the ways that production contributes to these factors. Eco-friendly furniture is expected to become a higher priority for consumers as we move forward.
5. The Number of Single-Person Households are Increasing
According to the Census Bureau, the number of single-person households is on the rise. How is this relevant to the furniture industry? More people are buying furniture than ever because they aren’t sharing spaces—or furniture—with anyone. This means that the furniture industry is in a prime position to sell more pieces than ever.
Another way the increasing number of single-person homes affects the industry relates to the type of furniture being bought. Many people living alone reside in smaller homes or apartments. That means they need multipurpose, compact, or modular furniture to fit in their space. Furniture companies should pay attention to these needs and ensure they provide options their customers can and want to utilize.
6. Augmented Reality as a Marketing Tool
Customers are furniture shopping and trying to envision what each piece might look like in their space. When they’re preparing to invest in furniture for their home or office, they want to make sure they’ll love what they choose and that it will fit with the rest of their furnishings and décor. And with augmented reality tools and apps, it’s possible.
Augmented reality tools allow customers to “try on” furniture before clicking the purchase button. Providing this service gives customers a highly accurate picture of what certain pieces will look like the inside of their spaces. This type of feature also encourages customers to view multiple pieces in their space, increasing the chances that they’ll find something they truly love.
7. Easy Financing
As consumers shop for furniture, they want the option to purchase on the same day – don’t we all? By providing customer financing options, furniture companies can facilitate the sale, and even allow customers to add on lamps, end tables, and accessories to complete the room. Working with UCFS Furniture Financing Services allows retailers to make the shopping process less stressful and more rewarding. When customers have a limited budget, offering monthly payment plans is an excellent way for furniture retailers to ensure they’re providing exceptional service to their customers.
UCFS allows customers to spread out their payments over time, so bringing home a new piece for their home is very manageable for their budget. The online application process is simple; customers can get approval in just minutes. That means they can make their purchase immediately and schedule delivery immediately or bring home the perfect piece without waiting!