E-Commerce Facts for the Outdoor Furniture Industry
When it comes to the outdoor furniture industry, e-commerce is a mixed blessing. While for some retailers, online shopping may require a major business model overhaul, it can also be a great way to connect to a new and influential pool of buyers.
Below we’ve compiled some facts and figures illustrating how e-commerce is making an impact on the furniture industry in general, and outdoor furniture specifically.
ONLINE FURNITURE SALES
Furniture e-commerce has not been as fast-growing as online shopping in other industries, mostly because furniture buying is a largely tactile experience. But the market is definitely growing. In fact, 8 out of 10 shoppers have now purchased furniture online.
According to the March 2015 Retail Monitor, outdoor furnishings are among the more popular online furniture purchases—so it’s safe to assume that the projected increase in sales will also benefit the outdoor market.
As more retailers take a multi-channel approach to marketing, it becomes easier for shoppers to combine online or mobile research, shopping and purchasing with visits to brick-and-mortar stores.
Whether customers purchase in-store or online, they want to touch the merchandise first. The Retail Monitor states that retailers are driving foot traffic by freshening up their in-store product lines—and points to a recent interior decorating trend of bringing outdoor elements to indoor furnishings as one way to do just that.
WHO’S BUYING ONLINE?
While tech-savvy millennials are responsible for the increasing interest in e-commerce, the online shopping generation gap is not as big as you may think.
As millennials gain a bigger presence in the housing market, their impact on the home furnishings market also increases. Retailers with an e-commerce option are better prepared to meet these buyers where they shop the most. Millennials’ design tastes may even create additional opportunities for the outdoor furniture industry—a recent report notes that this generation prefers a living space with less division between indoors and out.
Continued growth for the furniture industry in general bodes well for the future of outdoor furniture retailers. As consumer shopping preferences shift to include more online purchasing, retailers must embrace e-commerce as a component of their business model in order to remain competitive.
Sources: furniturefurnishings.com, furnituretoday.com and
Furniture|Today and Apartment Therapy Consumer Survey, 2014