The Fall Classic has concluded. America’s past time pinnacle moment was a suspenseful seven game series and it delayed your full focus from football for an extra week or so. We recently set our clocks back an hour as well. So as the sun sets a little earlier in the day and your weekends are spent surveying the action on the gridiron, your couch is going to get a lot busier. With that being said, the lumpy center cushion, the salsa stain on the armrest and that growing tear on the side are all becoming more noticeable. So as winter approaches, family and friends begin to visit for the holidays and big games, it may be time for an upgrade in the sofa department. Much like the new jacket and TV you recently ordered, looking online for furniture is an enticing option.
Furniture is a $101.4 billion global industry. According to ibisworld.com, $10 billion of that was done online. The demand for furniture has largely been tied to the housing market. As home sales declined, furniture sales followed suit. That also means now that as home sales are picking up, furniture and furnishings are trending that way as well, albeit in a different way than 10 years ago.
Online furniture sales have enjoyed steady annual growth since 2010, while in store sales have struggled. From 2008 through 2011, in store sales declined at a rate of 8.9% per year. Across those same four years, e-commerce furniture sales enjoyed double digit gains.
Even as home sales are regaining traction and in-store furniture sales are rebounding, the online furniture environment has established itself as a viable and profitable channel. Just as consumers no longer give a second thought to ordering clothes, electronics and gifts online, replacing large household items online has become a normal practice. However, with this new platform come new challenges.
The days of customers conducting the “sit test” to decide on a couch are happening less frequently. As a result, customer fulfillment expectations have become more demanding. Whether they order from a virtual supplier or a brick and mortar store, having the resources to safely fulfill and deliver orders is imperative. A third party logistics provider can be a huge asset in this emerging market. Leveraging a 3PL’s expertise and infrastructure can allow the e-commerce side of furniture manufacturers to remain competitive and grow. Barrett Distribution Centers specializes in furniture warehousing and fulfillment.