Recent trends show that consumers are migrating online to shop for furniture, appliances and home furnishings, both to research and complete purchases of large and small-ticket items.
PriceGrabber.com's market research database, Market Reporter, showed a 92% increase in merchant referrals to retailers in the furniture category over the past six months, and a 50% increase in merchant referrals for major household appliances.
While furniture is traditionally a 'look and feel' purchase, and usually conducted in person, consumers now seem willing to buy items such as sofas, patio furniture and tables online instead. Based on shopper behaviour over the past few months, it seems that shoppers are searching the internet for sales, lower sales tax rates, and free shipping offers.
Online shopping drivers
According to the survey of online shoppers at PriceGrabber.com, the three top factors that motivate consumers to go online for home furniture and appliance shopping are:
- Finding better prices;
- The convenience of shopping when they want to;
- The ability to shop from home and avoid store/mall crowds.
Of those surveyed, 23% said they expected to buy more products online for their home within the next twelve months. The survey results align with a recent Jupiter Research forecast that predicted steady growth for online spending for furniture, with a 17.4% growth from 2005 to 2010 (the Jupiter Research Internet Shopping Model, November 2005, USA).
According to Scott Perry, CEO for EverythingFurniture.com, "Our online business has increased more than 1,000% over the past three years, landing us in Inc. magazine's top 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in the US this year."
PriceGrabber.com plans to track the expected online shopping growth trends for furniture and appliances in the coming twelve months.
The full Consumer Behaviour Report on Home Furniture and Appliance Trends, which includes insight into the value of free shipping offers, the top reasons why shoppers will not purchase furniture online, and the heavy reliance shoppers place on doing online research before making offline purchases, has been made available as a free download from PriceGrabber.com's Market Reporter web site - click here (PDF document).