Home furnishings in Western Europe continued to stagnate in 2020. Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the measures taken to control its spread, benefited some categories, such as home office furniture or barbecues, but hit sales of other products like dining and living room furniture. Over the forecast period, home furnishings is expected to see further stagnation or, at best, very modest growth rates, with many categories already showing some levels of maturity.
Kitchen, outdoor and home office furniture were among the beneficiaries of the pandemic, as consumers spending more time at home opted to make these areas a nicer place to be. Lockdowns meant working/studying from home, which saw many consumers having to quickly adapt different areas of their homes to suit these purposes, resulting in a spike in demand for home office furniture in 2020.
At the same time, declines were seen in products like dining furniture and living room furniture. In Germany, for example, these areas of the household are normally where people welcome their guests – an activity that was almost non-existent throughout long periods of 2020 due to lockdowns and restrictions on travel and mobility.
The pandemic resulted in a strong increase in sales made through internet retailing in the region in 2020. This was observed in all markets, none more so than the UK, where more than a quarter of retail value was generated through e-commerce in this year. However, in spite of the dynamic performance of online sales in 2020, homewares and home furnishing stores remain the dominant channel in home furnishings.
Western Europe is expected to see more of the stagnating sales in the earliest years of the forecast period that were recorded in 2020 . There will still be some caution among consumers with regard to big-ticket purchases in the region, in view of the pandemic’s economic impact, although, among consumers who emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic in financial terms, there could also be some pent-up demand for household items. LED lamps, despite growth slowing, will remain the most dynamic category in home furnishings.
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