Covid-19 has affected many industries, including the home furnishing industry. The drop in business stretched for almost eight months since the outbreak started in March. By October, things started picking up. People wanted to decorate their homes differently. Earlier, the home was a place to relax and rest after a long day. With the increasing roles of our home as offices, meeting spots and schools, the need for home furnishing also increased.
But before diving into the changing home decor styles, let's look at the home furnishing shopping trends. People have now started preferring to buy products with minimal physical contact. Many individuals, for sake of convenience and safety, prefer shopping online. Research shows there was a 12% increase in first-time online buyers during the initial months of global quarantine. This was not just to reduce physical contact but also because people felt more connected to socially active brands that were trying to make an impact and offer support during unprecedented time. This led to a rise of brands promoting eco-friendly products. Many existing brands started enhancing their online presence, developing a bond with their consumers, and trying to win their customers’ trust.
To develop a better relationship with the audience, the home furnishing brands had to invest a lot in product photography. Displaying a product with a white background on sites is no more in trend. Brands are now focusing more on bringing experiences to their customers. Creative backdrops and shoots spark the interest of prospective buyers. Brands captured their products when in use so that the customers had a better understanding of the product. For example, instead of showing a carpet stacked in the rack, it is shown with real people using it and enjoying the comfort. This gave the audience a chance to see how the carpet will look in a real-life setting. They have also added virtual tours of their products being used by real people to make them more attractive.
Consumers also realised the importance of optimal use of existing resources. They preferred high-quality products, which can be used over a long period. They were inclined to buy products that had a long lifespan rather than trendy products. They wanted transparency in pricing and post-purchase services at the onset and delivery to their doorstep. So, businesses have had to redesign their business models by allocating resources to include speedy delivery, reducing the physical contact, digitalisation of their business, the longevity of the product, experimenting on product photography and other changing needs of consumers.
What the consumer wants
The global effect of covid-19 has led to a change in the perception of spending on home renovations. As homes have become the hub of our life, there is a need for renovating and decorating them.
The consumers will either go for a complete renovation of their homes only when necessary or postpone it. There is no part-refurbishing or renovating for every festive season. People have understood the importance of savings; investments are more focused on health and hygiene-related products. So, products like sensor soap/sanitiser dispensers and products that improved bathroom hygiene experienced an increase in sales.
Working on a regular chair and a dining table, converted into an office table, causes discomfort and reduces employee productivity. Employees faced health issues like back pain and neck pain without proper furniture needed for an office set-up. This pushed many to buy home-office furniture like laptop tables, office chairs, office tables with drawers, etc., making this type of furniture a necessity of our daily life.
Staying indoors for an extended period, confined in their home’s four walls, has increased the strain on individuals. People have chosen to decorate their homes with bold colours, comfortable soft furnishings, and attractive curtains to refresh their minds. All of this has led to an exponential increase in soft furnishings like cushions, throws and rugs.
Ashish Dhingra is the founder of Obsessions, a home furnishing brand.
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