Home furnishings manufacturers need to develop innovative products taking into account the eruption of e-commerce and the growing importance of millennial consumers in the United States (US).
The Euromonitor Digest, an online publication of the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau, said new product development should address larger and smaller spaces challenge.
The latter trend is driven by the preference of many millennials to live close to their jobs in apartments in the city center.
The report said bigger houses demand new furniture, such as occasional tables that fill different spaces, with innovation coming from new materials, such as vellum or granite and marble.
In contrast, smaller urban spaces demand innovation centered on functionality and versatility, such as electronic outlets to charge smart devices and sofa-beds that suit more than one purpose.
“Addressing both trends is a key avenue to success for many types of home furnishings,” it noted.
The report also highlighted the growing trend of remote and home working in the US.
“As a result, home office goods registered healthy sales growth rates in the last decade, with bright prospects for the short to medium term,” it said.
Within home office furniture, special attention is given to desks with a sit-stand option,
driven by the well-documented health benefits of working while standing at least part of the time.
“These trends are expected to continue to gain traction and present new growth opportunities for home office furniture,” it added.
The Euromonitor Digest pointed out that major furniture retailers are increasingly using augmented and virtual reality, as more consumers prefer to utilize these solutions to buy furniture.
It noted as an example Ikea Holdings which launched a new app that allows consumers to place furniture virtually in the home.
The report also cited the new customizable sofa shops, such as Interior Define, which uses 3-D technology to offer tailored sofas by size, fabric, configuration, leg style and “sit”.
The benefits suggest disruptive changes to the industry, such as the personalization of the shopping experience, the trying out of products remotely, the making of more informed purchasing decisions, and the bundling of purchases with entertainment, among others, it said.
“These technologies are at an initial phase of investment and implementation, but they are expected to continue to shape many types of home furnishings in the forecast period and beyond,” it added.
Likewise, an e-retailer opened its first customizable furniture store, another retailer tailor-make furniture and living space using 3D technology, while others offer virtual services.
“This trend is expected to continue and change furniture retailing by putting increasing
pressure on traditional formats,” it said.