Latest CIN report identifies what drives furniture purchases

Survey also shares insights into where consumers begin their search and where they are most likely to shop

HIGH POINT — Like most everything else on consumers’ shopping lists, a specific need or want drives most furniture purchases.

That’s a key conclusion of our fifth installment of Consumer Insights Now published this past Monday, which was based on a survey of nearly 1,900 consumers around the country.

The survey not only asked what specific items female and male shoppers alike are looking to buy in the second half of 2023, but also what triggers the interest in furniture to begin with.

Half of those surveyed said this interest occurs when a specific need arises such as when products wear out and need replacing, when they move to a new home, when children outgrow youth furniture and when they feel a need to redecorate. Obviously that desire to redecorate spurred a lot of furniture purchases during the pandemic, when many were confined to their homes for long periods. But this obviously has carried over into the present as many are still in the market for home furnishings.

Other triggers that spark interest include big sales events (for roughly a third of those surveyed), the desire to get new design ideas (13%) and when a new store opens (3%).

While the new store opening appears to be a non-starter for most consumers surveyed, some 48% said they start the process of buying furniture at a physical store, while 41% said they start looking at a store’s website. Note that 50% of Gen Z consumers (ages 18-26) said they start their search on Amazon.

Of those that visit a physical store, 18% said they always have a specific store in mind where they being shopping, compared to 57% who said sometimes and 25% who said they never have a specific store in mind.

For those who start their search online, 74% said they search for a specific product category online compared to 36% who start looking for a specific retailer and/or website where they can buy furniture. Others still said they search for a specific manufacturer or brand. Note also that the numbers were fairly consistent among various age groups, indicating a similar dynamic in how people shop online.

Here are some other key survey highlights relating to how consumers gather information about furniture:

+ 50% of those surveyed said they start with a retailers’ website, making it the No. 1 source for information about furniture in the marketplace. This was followed by 43% who said they get information about furniture from online reviews; 35% said they get recommendations/information from family or friends; 31% who said a manufacturer or brand website; and 24% who said they get information from online advertising from furniture retailers.

+ 21% respectively said they get information from retailer TV ads and online information from manufacturers or brands; 19% said they get information from TV advertising by manufacturers or brands; and 14% respectively who said they get information from social media posts from retailers and manufacturers alike. Others still said they get information from social media posts from influencers and celebrities, emails from retailers and/or manufacturers, and newspaper or magazine ads from furniture retailers and/or manufacturers. Note that print was the least popular means of getting information about furniture overall, signifying an ongoing shift in print readership.

+ The survey further breaks down sources of information for furniture that are most popular by age group, with a retailer’s website as the most popular among younger consumers. Younger consumers also tend to favor recommendations from family and friends and online ratings and reviews.

As we’ve mentioned with previous surveys that studied buying trends by category, most consumers — 76% in this case — prefer to purchase furniture in a physical store, while a large number of Gen Z consumers — 32% — prefer to make their purchases online.

Some 67% said they prefer the in-store buying experience because of the ability to see, feel and sit down on the furniture, while 39% and 31% respectively said it’s easier and more convenient to shop in a physical store. Some 30% said they liked the physical store experience because they were used to shopping there, while 24% said it was because of better delivery, 23% said access to better deals and 20% who said they liked the personal service they get at a physical store.

However, many said they also liked the online shopping experience because of its convenience and ease of delivery as well as access to better sales/deals, a wider selection and the ability to compare and contrast different types of furniture online.

Other factors that played a role in the purchase decision included size and dimensions (64%); fabric details (48%); warranty information (46%); reviews and recommendations from other buyers (42%); how long the furniture should last (40%); how to clean and care for the furniture (39%); and wood details (28%), to name several.

Finally, key factors to the final purchase decision include being within a budget (29%); quality of the product (28%); the style of the furniture one is looking for (16%); the product being on sale or at a discount (11%); a brand I know and trust (6%) and availability of financing options and being in stock and available for delivery (5% respectively).

The survey also considers the importance of financing and other related factors including the types of financing options sought and concerns about high interest rates and hidden fees.

As always we hope this information proves useful in terms of how it identifies the mindset of consumers in the market for furniture. Having access to this information could go a long way to how best to market, what to floor and most importantly win not only the sale, but the respect and confidence of the consumer.

Below is a list of what we’ve published so far and what’s coming up in our next installments of Consumer Insights Now:

+ Sept. 11  Purchase Plan Overview July 2023 to December 2023

+ Sept. 18 — Consumers Living at Home (a look at how and where people spend the most time at home)

+ Sept. 25 — Dining and Entertaining at Home (a look at where people dine in the home and to what extent they entertain at home)

+ Oct. 2 — Furniture Shopping and Buying Influences (what is driving consumers’ desire to buy furniture and how retail plays a role in that process)

+ Oct. 9 — Home Design Report (a detailed look at consumers’ preferred style preferences)

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

View all posts by Thomas Russell →

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