Consumer Insights Now (CIN), part of the Home News Now network of trade media brands, recently released the results of a major consumer study that specifically looked into furniture shopping habits. The study, which gathered input from nearly 1,900 consumers, sought to identify what types of events trigger the furniture buying process and what types of product consumers are looking to buy over the remaining weeks of 2023.
CIN has been slowly releasing portions of the report over the past few weeks, and the most recent drop caught our attention for a number of reasons. In particular, this most recent set of data dove into the “hows” and “wheres” of furniture shopping.
The top line number that’s going to matter most to this audience is that over three-fourths – 76 percent – of consumers said they prefer to purchase furniture in-store vs. online. For the 24 percent who purchase furniture online, the convenience factor of having product delivered right to their home without needing to go out and physically shop is what drives their decision to buy online.
While most consumers prefer to make the purchase online, it is worth noting that CIN’s report found that half of all consumers start their furniture shopping journey online. Of those who do, 41 percent start on a furniture store website, while another 40 percent start through a general online search. Looked at generationally, 61 percent of Baby Boomers said they start their furniture shopping journey in a store. However, 50 percent of Gen Z shoppers said their first stop is Amazon.
In a rather interesting portion of the research, CIN asked consumers whether they had a specific store in mind when they start shopping for furniture. Nearly 75 percent answered that they do. Of that total, 18 percent were “yes, always’ answers while 57 percent were ‘yes, sometimes.’ Just 25 percent said they did not have a specific furniture store in mind.
When searching online, consumers are most likely to search for a furniture category (74 percent) compared to a specific retailer/online website (36 percent) or manufacturer/brand (23 percent). However, when it comes to learning more about furniture, retailers’ websites are the leading source of information (identified by 50 percent of survey takers), followed by online reviews (43 percent), personal recommendations (35 percent) and manufacturer/brand websites (31 percent).
As for why consumers decide to start the furniture shopping journey, more often than not it’s going to be needs based. Half of those surveyed said a furniture purchase is needs-driven, compared to 33 percent who said a big sales event, 13 percent who cited design ideas, and just 3 percent who said when a new furniture store opens.
Among the needs-based reasons, a lot of familiar life events were cited by consumers. Among them, if their current furniture is broken or damaged, when the current sofa is no longer comfortable, when they’re moving or relocating, or major life events like switching to remote work and needing office furniture or a child outgrowing their old bed.