Homewares on the High Street
Our Senior Strategist Mike Tristram highlights key commercial opportunities in the booming homeware market.
Words by: Mike Tristram
Over the last few years, the homeware market has been the most resilient - a silver lining amongst the dark economic clouds. But with consumers having heavily invested in their homes for the past few years – you wouldn’t be amiss in thinking consumers will start shifting their spending away from their homes. However the retail stats show otherwise…
Here we look at the new consumer spending priorities emerging, and how brands can keep riding the wave of the homeware boom.
New ways to sell your (home)wares
Buying home furnishing is a considered purchase, so consumers are much more willing to dwell and want to experience them #IRL. We’re seeing new kinds of brand experience emerge as a result. Unlike others sectors which are focused on convenience, by its nature the homewares category can easily align itself with leisure offerings. With a raft of new leasing opportunities in urban centres and the continually evolving, expectations for stores to deliver experiential commerce – the homeware category is one of the best placed to capitalize on the evolving retail landscape. As predicted by Raconteur earlier this year - "As IKEA replaces Topshop, homeware is poised to be the future of the high-street."
Brands like FEST get it. With an in-store sofa cinema in Amsterdam and co-working a space in its new Rotterdam store the brand is seeing strong growth. The new Soho House Studio concept in Chelsea has also moved beyond just a furniture showroom, leaning heavily on its service offers like home design consultations, hosting candle-making workshops and features an in-store florist and coffee shop.
Personal ‘escape rooms’
The lines between professional and personal or private space have well and truly blurred with many working at home over the past few years. While the new hybrid role of our ‘home hubs’ are here to stay a certain comfort factor is a high priority for people looking to reclaim their homes as personal retreats.
Data from Pinterest Predicts 2022 highlights key search trends themed around ‘emotional escape rooms’ – spaces to decompress and vibe-out. Consumers are now actively advocating ‘me-time’ and personal space. This is also driving luxury homeware sales, introducing a new consumer segment ‘homeware hypebeasts’ after the latest designer pieces, and who are expected to drive growth of 4% annually until 2027. Something we have been working on with Wedgwood and Waterford for their 2022 campaigns.
Home workouts are here to stay
The dramatic downfall and $40bn devaluation of Peloton might leave you thinking the at-home fitness bubble has well and truly burst. Think again. Highlighted at CES earlier this year, 60% of UK citizens want to replicate a gym-like experience at home, and a recent report found that 85% don’t intend to renew their gym memberships in 2022.
This proves that there’s still demand and an active at-home fitness consumer base. But our changing relationship with exercise has meant that 86% of UK consumers rate ‘fun’ as the most important element of home workouts. Brands that tap into this mindset will see growth. Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure game is perfectly capitalising on this, reaching 13million+ sales in 2021 and has re-entered Nintendo’s Top 10 games - two and a half years after its release date.
2022 is the so-called ‘year of the squeeze’. Living costs are reaching a record high. But after a busy year for the UK property market in 2021, 69% of new homebuyers still plan to improve their property with planned spending on new colour schemes, new furniture and new appliances the most common (Get Agent).
Consumers are clearly still prioritising home purchases. Furniture was the stand-out high-performer in January, driving 12% YoY sales growth in the UK retail sector (BRC 2022). New Millennial homeowners don’t plan on splashing out if they don’t have to. Minimum cost, maximum impact is the now seemingly new status symbol. Social media is filled with budget-conscious renovation hacks and home ‘glow-ups’ for a little as £13.
From Toys R Us to Paws R Us
2021 was a record year of growth for the pet care market - up 29% on 2019. Not only is the category flourishing, but it’s also growing, with the pet spending boom rising in 2022 despite the increase in UK living costs (BBC 2022).
Reports also show that a quarter of ‘pet parents’ moved in the previous year to find a house or flat that was better suited to their pet - with a further 30% planning to do so in the coming year. This proves how much our pets influence our wallet spend across both home and leisure, whilst searches for pet-friendly hotels on Hotels.com increased 300% in 2021.