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UK Furniture Retailing market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Furniture Retailing market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Products covered in this report

This report covers the retailing of the following types of furniture:

  • Living and dining room furniture
  • Bedroom furniture, including beds and mattresses
  • Home office furniture

Further segmental detail can also be found in the following Mintel Reports:

  • Bedrooms and Bedroom Furniture – UK, October 2016
  • Living and Dining Room Furniture – UK, September 2016

While bathroom and kitchen furniture are included in the market size, we explore these segments in greater detail in the following Mintel Reports:

  • Bathrooms and Bathroom Accessories – UK, August 2016
  • Kitchens and Kitchen Furniture – UK, September 2016

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Thomas Slide, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The furniture sector has enjoyed a number of good years, but the market looks set to become much more challenging. It is therefore more important than ever for furniture retailers to ensure they have a clear position in the market, highlighting how they are delivering value for money while ensuring they avoid falling into the discounting trap Thomas Slide
Retail Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Spending on furniture continues to grow
              • Figure 1: Consumer spending on furniture, 2013-2023
            • Living and dining furniture accounts for almost half the market
              • Figure 2: Furniture market segmentation, 2017
            • Growing number of households underpins growth
              • Figure 3: Number of UK households, 2008-2017
            • Companies and brands
              • IKEA continues to expand but investment hits profits
                • Argos shake-up hits furniture sales
                  • Tesco withdraws while Amazon steps up
                    • A very fragmented market
                      • Figure 4: Market shares of furniture retailers, 2017
                    • Alternative realities make furniture shopping easier
                      • Total advertising expenditure increases 5.8% in 2017
                        • A lack of clear difference
                          • The consumer
                            • Average spend increases
                              • Figure 5: What they spent on furniture in the last 12 months, May 2017 and May 18
                            • All age groups buy living room furniture
                              • Figure 6: Rooms they buy for, May 2018
                            • In-store and online used in equal measure
                              • Figure 7: How they shop for furniture, May 2018
                            • 81% of furniture buyers browse online
                              • Figure 8: How they browsed for furniture in the last 12 months, May 2018
                            • IKEA and Argos lead a fragmented market
                              • Figure 9: Where they shopped for furniture in the last 12 months, May 2018
                            • A reputation for quality is the most important factor
                              • Figure 10: Factors important in deciding where to shop for furniture, May 2018
                            • The changing role of the store
                              • Figure 11: Behaviours related to shopping for furniture, May 2018
                            • Difficulty in judging quality online
                              • Figure 12: Attitudes towards shopping for furniture, May 2018
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                              • Competing in a challenging sector
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • The changing but ever-present role of the store
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Latest tech transforms the way people shop for furniture
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • Spending on furniture continues to grow
                                                  • Living and dining furniture accounts for almost half the market
                                                    • Growing number of households underpins growth
                                                      • Housing transactions start to slow
                                                        • Inflation on furniture and furnishings surges in 2017
                                                          • Retail credit market continues to grow
                                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                                            • Spending on furniture continues to grow
                                                              • Figure 13: Consumer spending on furniture, 2013-2023
                                                              • Figure 14: Consumer spending on furniture, 2013-2023
                                                            • Forecast methodology
                                                            • Market Segmentation

                                                              • Kitchen and bathroom sectors more exposed to market uncertainty
                                                                • Figure 15: Furniture market segmentation, 2013-2017
                                                            • Online

                                                              • Online sales account for 18% of furniture sales
                                                                • Sainsbury’s now the largest online retailer of furniture
                                                                  • Figure 16: Estimated shares of online spending on furniture, 2017
                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                • Continued growth in the number of households
                                                                  • Figure 17: Number of UK households, 2008-2017
                                                                  • Figure 18: Average household size, 1996-2017
                                                                • Housing transactions start to slow
                                                                  • Figure 19: Number of residential housing transactions over £40,000, 2008-2017
                                                                  • Figure 20: Monthly change in the number of residential housing transactions over £40,000 compared to the previous year, January 2017-May 2018
                                                                • Inflation on furniture and furnishings surges in 2017
                                                                  • Figure 21: Inflation, 2008-2017
                                                                  • Figure 22: Inflation, May 2017-May 2018
                                                                • Consumer confidence recovers in 2018
                                                                  • Figure 23: Consumers’ confidence in the state of the finances and their finances compared to the previous year, January 2016-June 2018
                                                                • Intention to spend on the home increases
                                                                  • Figure 24: Spending on the home, actions and intentions, April 2015-June 2018
                                                                • Retail credit market continues to grow
                                                                  • Figure 25: Forecast of the value of retail store and online credit, 2012-22
                                                              • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                • IKEA continues to expand but investment hits profits
                                                                  • Argos shake-up hits furniture sales
                                                                    • A very fragmented market
                                                                      • Alternative realities make furniture shopping easier
                                                                        • 2017 total advertising expenditure up 5.8%
                                                                          • A lack of clear difference
                                                                          • Leading Specialists

                                                                            • IKEA continues to innovate and grow
                                                                              • DFS grows through acquisitions
                                                                                • Uncertainty for the Steinhoff businesses
                                                                                    • Figure 26: Leading furniture specialists’ sales, 2012/13-2017/18
                                                                                  • Operating profits and margins
                                                                                    • IKEA profits hit by investment costs
                                                                                      • DFS profit drops
                                                                                        • Made.com losses stem from international expansion
                                                                                          • Figure 27: Leading furniture specialists’ operating profits, 2012/13-2017/18
                                                                                          • Figure 28: Leading furniture specialists’ operating margins, 2012/13-2017/18
                                                                                        • Stores and outlet data
                                                                                          • Figure 29: Leading furniture specialists’ outlet data, 2012/13-2017/18
                                                                                        • Sales per store
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Sales per store, 2012/13-2017/18
                                                                                      • Leading Non-specialists

                                                                                        • Argos shakeup hits furniture sales
                                                                                          • John Lewis furniture sales continue to grow
                                                                                            • Tesco stops selling furniture
                                                                                              • Amazon makes moves towards the furniture market
                                                                                              • Market Share

                                                                                                  • A very fragmented market
                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Market shares of furniture retailers, 2017
                                                                                                • Space Allocation Summary

                                                                                                    • Space allocation overview
                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Furniture retailers: summary of estimated in-store space allocation, June 2018
                                                                                                    • Detailed space allocation estimates
                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Furniture retailers: detailed space allocation estimates, June 2018
                                                                                                    • Innovation and Launch Activity

                                                                                                      • Amazon launches first own furniture brand
                                                                                                        • Try-before-you-buy
                                                                                                          • Figure 34: IKEA Place app
                                                                                                        • Local sourcing
                                                                                                          • IKEA debuts streetwear designer collection of home accessories
                                                                                                            • Figure 35: IKEA: Spänst collection, wardrobe and skateboard, June 2018
                                                                                                          • Micro-living furnishings
                                                                                                            • Making it easier to find specific furnishings
                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Wayfair Search with Photo
                                                                                                            • Creating a starting point to searching for a sofa online
                                                                                                            • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                              • 2017 total advertising expenditure up 5.8% year on year
                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on furniture, 2014-17
                                                                                                              • DFS is the biggest advertising spender …
                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on furniture, by retailer, 2014-17
                                                                                                              • … and accounts for over a fifth of total sector advertising spend
                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Share of total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on furniture, by retailer, 2017
                                                                                                              • TV attracts the lion’s share of advertising spend
                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on furniture, by media type, 2017
                                                                                                              • Leading advertisers favour TV over any other media type
                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Total above-the line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on furniture, by retailer and media type, 2017
                                                                                                              • Campaign highlights
                                                                                                                • DFS puts speed of home delivery and comfort in the spotlight
                                                                                                                  • Dreams pushes UK manufacturing credentials
                                                                                                                    • Hollywood actor fronts Sofology’s ‘Feel at home on the sofa you love’ campaign
                                                                                                                      • Relaxing qualities of the living room
                                                                                                                        • Harveys pushes customisable sofa collection
                                                                                                                          • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                          • Brand Research

                                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Key metrics for selected brands, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Brand attitudes: Oak Furniture Land worth paying more for
                                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Attitudes, by brand, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Brand personality: IKEA makes furniture shopping fun
                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Brand personality – macro image, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • DFS risks being seen as impersonal and overrated
                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Brand personality – micro image, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                • IKEA’s reputation for innovation and value makes it popular with the young
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: User profile of IKEA, April 2018
                                                                                                                                • Oak Furniture Land delivers a quality message
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: User profile of Oak Furniture Land, April 2018
                                                                                                                                • DFS: trusted but lacks differentiation
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: User profile of DFS, April 2018
                                                                                                                                • Harveys is authoritative but lacks excitement
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: User profile of Harveys Furniture, April 2018
                                                                                                                                • Furniture Village lacks trust and differentiation
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: User profile of Furniture Village, April 2018
                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                • Average spend increases
                                                                                                                                  • All age groups buy living room furniture
                                                                                                                                    • In-store and online used in equal measure
                                                                                                                                      • 81% of furniture buyers browse online
                                                                                                                                        • IKEA and Argos lead a fragmented market
                                                                                                                                          • A reputation for quality is the most important factor
                                                                                                                                            • The changing role of the store
                                                                                                                                              • Difficulty in judging quality online
                                                                                                                                              • What They Spent

                                                                                                                                                • Shift to higher value purchases over the past year
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: What they spent on furniture in the last 12 months, May 2017and May2018
                                                                                                                                                • Spending peaks among 25-34 year-olds
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Spending on furniture in the past year, by age group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • And in the period a year after moving in
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Spending on furniture in the past year, by years lived in their current home, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • Rooms They Buy For

                                                                                                                                                • Living room and bedroom purchases dominate
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Rooms they buy for, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Bedroom becomes less of a focus with age
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Rooms they buy for, by age group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                              • How They Shop for Furniture

                                                                                                                                                • In-store and online level-pegging
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: How they shop for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Online shopping more popular among the young
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: How they shop for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Shopping in-store increases with spend
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: How they shop for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • How They Browse for Furniture

                                                                                                                                                  • 81% browse online
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: How they browsed for furniture in the last 12 months, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • Almost half of under-35s use smartphones to look for furniture
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Browsing for furniture by smartphone, by age group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                  • 76% of in-store purchasers browsed online
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: How in-store shoppers browsed for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                • Where They Shopped

                                                                                                                                                  • Huge number of furniture retailers
                                                                                                                                                    • The online pureplays remain niche
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Where they shopped for furniture in the last 12 months, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                    • IKEA surges ahead …
                                                                                                                                                      • … while Argos drops behind
                                                                                                                                                        • Amazon continues to expand
                                                                                                                                                          • Homebase troubles impact furniture business
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Where they shopped for furniture in the last 12 months, May 2017 and May 2018
                                                                                                                                                          • IKEA and Amazon battle for the middle ground
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Where they shop for furniture, by age and socio-economic group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                          • Smartphone browsing peaks among eBay shoppers
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Browsing online via a smartphone, by where they shopped, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                        • Important Factors in Deciding Where to Shop

                                                                                                                                                          • Quality is the most important factor
                                                                                                                                                            • Importance of reputation opens the way for branded stores to expand
                                                                                                                                                              • Unique styles can make all the difference
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Factors important in deciding where to shop for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                              • Credit appeals to young, less affluent households
                                                                                                                                                                • Showrooms hold less appeal to the young
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Factors important in deciding where to shop for furniture, by age and socio-economic group, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • Price, speed and credit are more important to online shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 69: Factors important in deciding where to shop for furniture, by how they shopped for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • IKEA shoppers look for unique styles and a reputation for quality
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: IKEA shoppers’ important features in deciding where to shop, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • John Lewis shoppers value quality, style and UK-made
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: John Lewis shoppers’ important features in deciding where to shop, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • Credit appeals to DFS shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 72: DFS shoppers’ important features in deciding where to shop, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                              • Shopping Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                                • The changing role of the store
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 73: Behaviours related to shopping for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • Young people most likely to buy on credit
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 74: Proportion saying they bought furniture on credit, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • B&Q shoppers are most likely to have regretted a purchase
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Agreement with the statement: ‘I purchased an item of furniture I later regretted’, by where they shopped for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes Towards Shopping for Furniture

                                                                                                                                                                • Stores essential to judge quality …
                                                                                                                                                                  • … but high-pressure selling tactics can deter people
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 76: Attitudes towards shopping for furniture, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                  • Augmented reality app holds interest for younger shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 77: Interest in smartphone app to show how a piece of furniture would look in the home, by age and gender, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                  • Economic uncertainty most likely to impact 25-34-year-olds
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 78: Concerns about the economy have led me to delay buying a large item of furniture, by age, May 2018
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                        • Forecast methodology