From sustainability to the metaverse: here are the trends for 2023 in the Home & Living industry
15th May, 2023
BrandOn Focus: “The Home and Living sector is worth 2.6 billion euros and has a growth rate of +12.4%.”
Propensity for digital, sustainability, wide and diversified choice, augmented reality, and omnichannel are the new trends driving the growth of the Italian online market in the home and living sector. This is what emerges from the online focus on “Selling Home & Living on Marketplaces,” part of a series of events dedicated to analyzing the world of e-commerce curated by BrandOn Group, the Made in Italy company that helps brands sell more and better and internationalize online.
There is no doubt: the online world has influenced all areas of our shopping experiences, and the home and living sector is no exception. The furniture sector, in particular, is witnessing a positive trend in terms of sales through digital channels. By 2027, the global furniture market is projected to reach a value of 664 billion euros, compared to just under 512 billion euros in 2022, representing a growth rate of about 30% over the period. Online sales also seem to be playing their part. Worldwide, digital sales are expected to reach 223.81 billion euros in 2023, with an annual growth rate of 11.61%. While the United Kingdom leads Europe in online sales with nearly 8.2 billion euros, Italy is approaching 3 billion euros with a projected year-on-year growth rate of 12.04%, one of the highest in the EU.
Home & Living, in particular, is emerging as one of the most dynamic sectors in e-commerce. The category’s value in 2022 was approximately 2.6 billion euros, with growth exceeding the industry average (+14%). The international success of the Italian market is possible not only due to the recognized excellence of Made in Italy worldwide but also thanks to the innovative capabilities of companies that cater to new consumer styles and sensitivities. But what are the new trends shaping the industry?
This and much more was discussed during the meeting led by BrandOn Group founder Paola Marzario, with contributions from Paola Epiro, CEO of Homemania, Michael Gambino, Key Account Manager at Leroy Merlin, Cristina Mollis, Founder & CEO of R5 Living, and Gabriele Nofrini, Head of E-commerce at Groupe SEB. Together, they outlined the main trends for 2023 and drew a typical profile of the new consumer.
Propensity for digital. According to a Casaleggio research, not only are 65% of companies currently present on marketplaces, but 46% of them operate on more than one platform, with mobile devices dominating with 77% of views. The average consumer in the sector is a millennial with a growing digital inclination and a clear preference for convenience as a conversion factor for purchases. While in the past, home and furniture stores required adjacent parking spaces to facilitate the loading of purchased products, today, home delivery is a top priority, perhaps with a service for collecting used items. However, when making an online purchase, consumers are not only seeking convenience: trust is increasingly the foundation for the success of a marketplace. The services offered must be precise, secure, and reliable, in direct proportion to the digitization of the purchasing process.
Sustainability. Today, the average consumer follows his heart, even in his purchases, and his choices are increasingly value-based, where price and quality are only part of the determining factors. One of the main trends of 2023 is sustainability: the new generations, increasingly environmentally aware and conscious of their purchases, are demanding transparency from producers and retailers on the origin of products and raw materials. They want to be part of the environmental impact and have increasing sustainability as their main driver. And this trend does not only apply to production, but to the entire supply chain, from logistics to packaging. Transparency is the watchword and an example of this is the disclosure of carbon dioxide emissions and their reduction.
Michael Gambino, Leroy Merlin, commented: ‘Sustainability is a very important issue, which companies are addressing internationally. As Leroy Merlin is a marketplace specialising in home improvement, DIY and Living, we are dealing with products made from wood and from the beginning of the year our retailer partners must be FSC certified. Otherwise, the products will have to be decommissioned. We are thinking in the long term, not just to make money with a certain order at a certain time, but in the interest of the consumer. What’s more: we have hired a new account manager who, in addition to taking care of the onboarding of our retailer partners, will focus especially on positive impact, to ensure not only that the products come from sustainable sources but that there is also reasoning on aspects such as packaging. There is a whole variety of aspects to consider in terms of sustainability, which must become, if they are not already, one of the main focuses of companies.”
Augmented reality and metaverse. 3D content and virtual simulations are the new frontier for the online presentation of products for sale. In the Home & Living field, the buyer has always been looking for the ‘simulation effect’: that is, the buyer wants to understand how that particular object might occupy the available space, and this is all the more true when buying online. Virtual and augmented reality technologies not only make it easier to dream from home, but also reduce the risk of returns, because the consumer can immediately get a clearer idea of how his or her purchase will fit in once placed in his or her home environment. Any partnerships with strategic technologies are an important asset that can increase the conversion rate.
Wide and diversified choice. Another important macro-trend noted during the focus is the availability of a wide choice, allowing consumers to compare products and brands and create their own personal collection.
The coexistence of several competing brands on the same platform attracts consumers because it allows them to find the products that inspire them most in one environment.
Omnichannel. Physical shops and ecommerce can work in synergy, offering a complete shopping experience, more interesting and tailored to the needs of each consumer. Especially in the Home & Living sector, in fact, the possibility of personally testing, for example, a bed or a sofa, experiencing it first-hand and then purchasing it online, with the advantage of home delivery, can reassure the consumer and provide an incentive to buy. A strategy with a significant impact in terms of conversion rate.
An evolving sector, therefore, and one that is particularly sensitive to technological innovation and changes in daily life, where with the pandemic and smart working, the domestic space has taken on an even more central role. “The trend,” explains Marzario, “is to implement ecommerce sites in the furnishing sector with augmented reality and 360-degree views in order to improve and make more effective the purchasing experience of the user, who is looking for increasingly reliable solutions, especially when moving in fields that have a greater impact in terms of cost and size. But that’s not all: “the metaverse could be the keystone,” continues Marzario. “Think of the possibility of experiencing the furnishing experience in spaces that are perfectly identical to those one has in real life: an expedient that could greatly increase customer satisfaction.