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"A lot has happened in the last few years of online shopping, with the home furnishings category evolving along the way. Pioneers of the online décor market have continued to make advancements through tools and features, making the online shopping experience easier and more realistic, such as Wayfair’s “view in room” feature. Meanwhile leading retailers outside the traditional channel, like Walmart and Amazon, continue to focus on growing home furnishings both in stores and online, indicating the opportunities that lie within the category. And that’s not all; more innovations are rapidly emerging, not only with where consumers shop online but also how they shop, with concepts such as Fernish, an online furniture rental service, entering the market and making it an exciting, but competitive, time for the category."

– Alexis DeSalva, Retail & Apparel Analyst

This report examines the following issues:

  • Competition is intense, and most consumers shop retailers outside the traditional channel
  • Product and quality concerns are the biggest barriers to buying online 
  • Value is a priority for most shoppers 
  • Endorsements and reviews influence purchase decisions

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • What shoppers are buying in home furnishings:
        • What they seek when shopping the category:
          • Definition
          • Executive Summary

            • Overview
              • Category evolution
                • Key issues and opportunities
                  • Issue: Competition is intense, and most consumers shop retailers outside the traditional channel
                    • Opportunity: Leveraging expertise to establish retailers’ presence as a trusted destination
                      • Issue: Product and quality concerns are the biggest barriers to buying online
                        • Opportunity: Using technology to reduce hesitation
                          • Issue: Value is a priority for most shoppers
                            • Opportunity: Re-thinking the meaning of value
                              • Issue: Endorsements and reviews influence purchase decisions
                                • Opportunity: Embrace transparency by using feedback to drive credibility and authenticity
                                  • How online shopping for home furnishings will continue to evolve
                                  • Home Décor Online – State of the Market

                                    • Universal connectivity indicates optimism for future online sales, but also means retailers need to be nimble
                                      • Figure 1: Devices used to access the internet, December 2017
                                    • Consumers don’t need convincing to buy home furnishings online
                                      • Figure 2: Retailers shopped for home décor, April 2018
                                      • Figure 3: Retailers shopped for furniture, May 2018
                                    • Home ownership rates remain high
                                      • Figure 4: Homeownership rate, 2014-17
                                  • Purchase Breakdown

                                    • Nearly two thirds have bought furnishings online compared to less than 10% in 2013
                                      • Figure 5: Items purchased, September 2018
                                    • Smaller décor items drive market
                                      • Furniture holds strong potential
                                        • Figure 6: West elm email campaign, October 2018
                                    • Market Perspective

                                      • Consumers browse and buy between channels, not one over the other
                                        • Figure 7: Pre-purchase process and attitudes toward reviews and buying online, September 2018
                                    • Key Drivers

                                      • Why buy online?
                                        • Figure 8: TURF analysis – Reasons for buying home décor online versus in-store, September 2018
                                      • Category experts need to evolve as consumers shift to retailers outside the space
                                        • Figure 9: Retailers shopped – Traditional versus nontraditional, September 2018
                                        • Figure 10: Amazon scout visual search image, September 2018
                                        • Figure 11: Walmart virtual room video clip, June 2018
                                      • Emerging companies offer alternative ownership options
                                        • Figure 12: Fernish website, September 2018
                                    • Consumer Insights – What You Need to Know

                                      • What consumers seek – value and convenience
                                        • What influences purchases – reviews and research
                                          • How retailers can help – guidance, tools, and flexibility
                                          • Items Purchased

                                            • Key takeaways
                                              • Small, accent décor items drive the market
                                                • Figure 13: Items purchased, September 2018
                                              • Parents, young men, and Hispanics most active online
                                                • Shoppers with limited resources see value in buying furniture online
                                                  • Figure 14: Items purchased, by select demographics, September 2018
                                                • Moms, young women, and single parents are targets for seasonal décor
                                                • Retailers Shopped

                                                  • Key takeaways
                                                    • Value and convenience drive shoppers outside the traditional channel, even online
                                                      • Figure 15: Retailers shopped online, September 2018
                                                      • Figure 16: Target email campaign, September 2018
                                                    • Who IS shopping traditional furnishing retailers online?
                                                      • Majority of shoppers visit Amazon, but there’s an opportunity to appeal to those less likely to do so
                                                        • Wayfair winning over older shoppers
                                                          • Figure 17: Retailers shopped, by select demographics, September 2018
                                                        • Hispanic shoppers seek value, Black shoppers are comfortable shopping online-only retailers
                                                        • Reasons for Buying Online versus In-store

                                                          • Key takeaways
                                                            • Why buy online?
                                                              • Figure 18: Reasons for buying online, September 2018
                                                            • Discovery and deals are top reasons consumers buy décor online
                                                              • Renters look for value and convenience
                                                                • Figure 19: Reasons for shopping, by living situation, September 2018
                                                              • Why are men shopping online?
                                                                • Figure 20: Reasons for buying online versus in-store, by gender, September 2018
                                                            • Pre-Purchase Process

                                                              • Key Takeaways
                                                                • Majority of shoppers conduct multiple steps before buying, but prioritize product and pricing information
                                                                  • Many buyers conduct research on products and price every time they shop online
                                                                    • Fewer shoppers utilize tools and social media prior to purchasing
                                                                      • Shoppers seek ways to see products before buying
                                                                        • Figure 21: Pre-purchase process, September 2018
                                                                      • Multicultural shoppers look for more ways to save, avoid fees
                                                                        • Figure 22: Pre-purchase process – Net, by race and Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                                                    • Post-Purchase Perspectives

                                                                      • Key takeaways
                                                                        • Overall sentiment more positive than negative
                                                                            • Figure 23: Post-purchase thoughts, September 2018
                                                                          • Young adults and parents repay positive experiences with future purchases and reviews
                                                                            • Figure 24: Post-purchase thoughts, by parental status and gender and age, September 2018
                                                                          • Inaccurate product info didn’t dissuade Hispanic shoppers
                                                                          • Barriers to Buying Online

                                                                            • Key takeaways:
                                                                              • Product concerns are most prohibitive
                                                                                • Older women are turned off by potential product issues and returns
                                                                                  • Figure 25: Barriers to buying online, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                                • Some parents are dissuaded by total online costs
                                                                                  • Multicultural shoppers are less concerned with products, more focused on service and costs
                                                                                  • Desired Improvements

                                                                                    • Key takeaways
                                                                                      • Service improvements, better reviews, and bundled promotions could encourage more online purchases
                                                                                        • Figure 26: Desired improvements, September 2018
                                                                                      • Complimentary services can attract multiple generations of shoppers
                                                                                        • Moms need more product views in order to do more shopping
                                                                                          • Which improvements will persuade majority of shoppers to buy online?
                                                                                            • Figure 27: TURF analysis – Desired improvements, September 2018
                                                                                        • Attitudes toward Buying Online

                                                                                          • Key takeaways
                                                                                            • Most shoppers expect lower prices, feel buying online is easy
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Attitudes toward buying online, September 2018
                                                                                            • Young men are impulsive online shoppers
                                                                                              • Figure 29: Attitudes toward buying online, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                                            • iGens are more brand loyal
                                                                                              • Hispanic shoppers feel online shopping is easy, but have high expectations for preferred brands and price
                                                                                                • Figure 30: Attitudes toward buying online, by Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                                                                            • Attitudes toward Reviews and Endorsements

                                                                                              • Key takeaways
                                                                                                • Reviews and recommendations from known sources are the most impactful
                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Attitudes toward reviews and endorsements, September 2018
                                                                                                • Young adults are persuaded by the opinions of the peers
                                                                                                  • Moms rely on product reviews, while dads are swayed by peers’ experiences
                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Attitudes toward reviews and endorsements, by parental status by gender, September 2018
                                                                                                  • Hispanic shoppers deterred by negative experiences
                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                          • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                              • Abbreviations

                                                                                                              This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

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