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From Home Furnishing Business

Fit For a King

By Sheila Long O'Mara

Father’s Day is just around the corner and the television airwaves and newspaper circulars are already touting the big day and Dad’s Chair as the perfect gift.

A fitting crown for the king of the household, recliners make for a great promotion during this time of the year. In fact, the kickoff to football season, Thanksgiving and the holidays seem to put the recliner front and center in promotions.

It’s an easy category for retailers to promote and a relatively easy category for consumers to understand and gravitate toward.

Recliner sales for 2014 increased slightly—2.87 percent—over recliner sales in 2013. Category sales last year were $4.51 billion; in 2013, recliner sales were $4.39 billion. Recliners remained steady accounting for slightly more than 5 percent of sales for total industry sales of $87.53 billion last year.

Today’s top-selling recliners seem to be generating a higher price point than those of year’s past when $299 and $399 were the sweet spot. No fear, those marks are still pulling in some volume—and they make for great promotions—but there is a slight trend in a higher price point.

Much of that swing can be attributed to consumers’ penchant toward the abundance of creature comforts and features available, including heat and massage, charging ports for electronics, better leathers and plusher fabrics.

In Home Furnishings Business’ most recent consumer survey, consumers ranked their top-wanted features they’d like to have in their reclining chairs. We asked them to pick their top four features they were most interested in for their recliner. An adjustable headrest and lumbar support landed at the top of the list of wanted features. Those support features were followed by heat and massage, hidden tables, storage drawer and a docking station for a smartphone.

While the majority of the consumers were pleased with their recliner shopping experience, they did face a few challenges. At the top of the list, they were somewhat disappointed by the selection of recliners from which to choose.

As is typical, the consumers also had a bit of sticker shock with pricing, and they had a hard time in distinguishing the differences between recliners. Those few stumbling blocks leave the door open for retail sales associates to explain the different features available in the different styles, and possibly the opportunity to upsell consumers into a higher ticket.

When it comes to shelling out dollars for recliners, the largest segment—41.2 percent—said they’d expect to pay between $300 and $599 for a recliner dressed in fabric. Another 35.3 percent said they’d pay between $600 and $999 for a fabric recliner. On the low end of the pricing scale, 17.7 percent said they’d expect to pay less than $300 for a fabric recliner.

Stepping up to leather posed a bit of a challenge in pricing for the surveyed consumers. More than 36 percent said they would be willing to pay only $50 more for a leather recliner, and 27.3 percent said they’d be willing to pay $100 more for a leather recliner.

When it comes to recliners, more than half of our consumers—53.6 percent—were most interested in traditionally styled chairs. Just over a quarter (28.6 percent) gravitated toward a more contemporary styled recliner.

Despite all the fancy bells and whistles consumers are demanding, they still like to go old school with the recliner mechanism. Nearly 68 percent chose lever-operated mechanisms as their preferred method for reclining their easy chair. Push-back mechanisms garnered 17.9 percent and power mechanisms took 14.3 percent as the preferred method to recline.

When asked about pricing and how much more they would be willing to pay for a power recline mechanism, 85.8 percent said they would only pay $100 more, and most of those—67.9 percent—said they would only pay $50 more.

When it comes to product warranties, most recliner consumers agree they matter. When asked whether or not they had a warranty on their chair, 64.3 percent said yes.

Overall, the consumers were satisfied with their recliner purchase. On a scale of one to seven with seven being “very satisfied” and one being “not at all satisfied”, more than 67 percent selected five or above.


Want More?

A more in-depth report on recliners is available for purchase by calling Natalia Hurd at (404) 390-1535 or via e-mail at

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