After a few years of stay-at-home behavior, 2022 is supposed to be the year of returning to in-person shopping, but how does that translate for the home furnishings sector?

A March survey from ChaseDesign found 85% of consumers planned to shop in-store more frequently this year vs. 78% in 2021 who said they would return to physical stores to do more shopping. Seeing items in person (61%) and touching them (59%) were the most cited reasons for making the trek back to brick-and-mortar locations, although getting what they need, when they want it was also important for 45% of 1,000 respondents polled.

Furniture Today’s Strategic Insights study from earlier this year discovered that consumers enjoy shopping at stores for furniture and home accents, more so for the latter by a small margin (55% vs. 52%).

Gen Z showed the lowest level of interest in buying furniture at a physical location (45%), while more than half of Millennials and Gen X said they enjoyed the in-person furniture-buying process.

Among different age groups, Millennials were the biggest buyers of both furniture and accents online, according to the Strategic Insights poll, while 70% of women said they had bought home accessories online, the highest overall among categories tracked. But at 65%, women were also strong proponents of the in-store home accent buying process as well.

For those shoppers who do prefer an online interaction, the 2022 E-commerce Relevance Report from cloud-based platform company Coveo, which surveyed 4,000 individuals in the U.S. and U.K., found 93% of shoppers expect their online experience to be equal to, if not better than, the in-store experience, setting a high bar for retailers who are now seeing their online business ceded to physical retailing once again.

About the data

Furniture Today Strategic Insights fielded an online survey in January and February 2022 to a nationally representative sample of 755 consumers to assess their shopping preferences when it comes to buying home furnishings. For additional information about the survey, please contact Joanne Friedrick, research editor, at [email protected].

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I’m Joanne Friedrick, research editor for the Home Furnishings Division. I began my career as a newspaper editor and then became a trade journalist, covering myriad industries including pension funds, supermarkets, gourmet food and security systems, just to name a few. Most recently, I entered the home furnishings category as a contributor for HFN and Home Textiles Today before transitioning into research where I now get to tell the stories behind the numbers for all of the HFD titles.

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