Retailer Strategies to Land in the Narrow Consideration Set of Furniture Shoppers

By: Chip West, Client Marketing Director, Valassis
Published Thursday, Sep 14, 2017



Retailer Strategies to Land in the Narrow Consideration Set of Furniture Shoppers

As marketers know, certain product categories involve a good deal of research by the consumer prior to purchase – furniture being one of them. When considering furniture, the consumers’ path-to-purchase journey not only involves extensive research, it remains elongated, and ultimately results in an extremely narrow consideration set of retailers. 

Purchasing Throughout the Year

In addition, while it may seem like the majority of furniture sales occur during the big holiday weekends (such as Presidents Day and Labor Day), during which furniture retailers traditionally run promotions, in reality, sales are generally spread throughout the year.

furniture-store-sales-2016-chart1

In fact, the second half of the calendar year is now seeing slightly higher sales, with the emerging trend of Q3 surpassing Q4 as the top quarter. This is mainly fueled by surging end-of-summer, back-to-college and Labor Day sales.¹ Because furniture sales are fairly equally proportioned throughout the year, advertisers need to target, connect with and influence consumers continuously.

us-census-feb2017-chart2

Researching More, Considering Less

The path to purchase for big-ticket items like furniture although shortening, remains lengthy. Furniture purchasers now spend an average of 68 days conducting research prior to buying (versus 85 days in 2015).² All this research, both on- and off-line has resulted in a very narrow consideration set of retailers, with more than 78 percent of consumers now shopping at three or fewer stores before making their furniture purchase.  About half only shop at one or two stores.³ 

Retailers Must Have a Presence

Now we can see why frequency in advertising is so crucial to successfully reaching and engaging furniture buyers. In order for home furnishing retailers to secure their spot within this critical few considered, their advertising messages must be consistent and frequent to connect with the highest-opportunity consumers who may be in various stages of purchase.

Marketers Must Utilize the Right Media

In addition to engaging with furniture shoppers throughout the year, it’s important for retailers to leverage the media with the greatest influence on those planning to buy furniture – and this means print and digital. Print and digital advertising consistently represent the greatest share of influence across key generational segments of those planning to buy furniture. At 35 percent, millennials continue to represent the largest share of furniture and bedding buyers, followed by baby boomers and Generation X.4

buying-trends-chart3

And, across generations, print and digital indisputably resonate as having the largest share of media influence… a combined 68+ percent in each case.5

prosper-insights-jan2017-chart4

As some traditional media, such as TV, lose effectiveness due to cord-cutting/DVR usage and newspaper circulation/readership, furniture retailers that have predominately used these channels have to re-think their strategies.

Consider these facts:

  • An estimated 23 percent of U.S. households are cord-cutters; 44 percent own/use DVR and nationally.
  • 26 percent of adults read a daily newspaper, 32 percent read a Sunday newspaper.6
  • In just the past five years, the top 100 U.S. newspapers have lost significant circulation.7

So What’s the Bottom Line?

A unique cross-channel media approach designed with consistency and frequency to target, connect and influence key furniture consumer segments will drive traffic and sales throughout the year.

Sources:

¹ US Census Bureau Monthly Trade Data & Home Furnishings Business, February 2017;

² 5th Annual Major Purchase Consumer Study, Synchrony Financial, December  2016;

³ Impact Consulting & Home Furnishings Business, November 2016;

4 Progressive Business Media Strategic Insights, 2017 FURNITUREToday Consumer Buying Trends Study;             

5 Prosper Insights & Analytics MBI Survey, Jan 2017

6 Scarborough Research, Multi-Market Releases 1&2, 2016

7Alliance for Audited Media, Newspaper Publisher Statements, Q1 2013-2017