The impact of online shopping on brick and mortar retailers is becoming more pronounced as consumers grow increasingly comfortable making purchases from the comfort of home – including purchases of bed and bath furnishings.
Online or In-Store?
Generally, when shopping for home furnishings of any kind, consumers prefer to see and feel items in person before making a purchase. Ordering an item online only to have it arrive and not live up to expectations is a strong deterrent for shoppers. For manufacturers and sellers, the cost of shipping bulky items and restocking costs in the event of a return are resoundingly off-putting factors.
Despite these challenges, purchases of this nature – including larger items like those in the furniture segment – are expanding in the e-commerce sector. In fact, our own in-house projections place e-commerce sales of furniture and furnishings among the fastest-growing segments, seeing double-digit gains through 2022. The segment continues to expand as consumers increasingly value convenience and sellers respond by offering free shipping and free restocking in the event of a return.
With competitors like Amazon being so readily accessible and easy-to-use, traditional bed and bath furnishing retailers – both brick-and-mortar and online – have resorted to creative ways to win back market share, including adding the ability to use augmented reality (AR) to view new products in one’s own home. For instance, Wayfair, an online home furnishings retailer, has introduced an AR app – Wayfair Spaces – for use with AR headsets, which allows shoppers to visualize the way various products look when positioned together and aids in decision-making. Another version exists for smartphones, called View in Room 3D, built directly into the Wayfair app. Other retailers, such as Williams-Sonoma and Macy’s, have announced their own similar apps.
Retailers still struggle to compete with the simplicity of an e-commerce shopping outlet like Amazon, and Walmart’s e-commerce capabilities are expanding as well. Bed Bath & Beyond has lost significant share to such retail outlets, citing the ease with which shoppers can ship directly from competitors’ websites to their children’s dorm rooms or to gift recipients.
In order to stay competitive, companies may need to shift their focus to improving their e-commerce infrastructure, while also offering novel features.
Want to Learn More?
Don’t worry, we have you covered! For additional information and analysis of US industry trends, see Bed & Bath Furnishings: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2022 US bed and bath furnishings demand and shipments in US dollars at the manufacturer level. Total demand and shipments are segmented by product in terms of:
- sheets and pillowcases
- bedspreads, blankets, and comforters
- pillows and cushions
- towels and washcloths
To illustrate historical trends, total demand, total shipments, the various segments, and trade are provided in annual series from 2007 to 2017.
While you’re there, check out some of our related reports, which include:
About the Author
Chris Dyer is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.