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From Home Furnishing Business

What Sells: Relax & Recline

When I think of motion furniture, my mind goes back to sitting in my grandfather’s La-Z-Boy recliner, perfectly positioned in front of the T.V. While I’m sure that we all have a fond memory of what was arguably the most comfortable seat in the house, the motion category has come a long way since my memories of that hand operated model. Today, the buzz surrounding motion products is all about the additions of comfort and convenience — lumbar support, USB chargers, reading lights, even voice activated control introduced by Barcalounger, Catnapper, and others! Most importantly, the evolution of the category has been designed to include consumer’s various lifestyles by offering products that are scaled to fit smaller living spaces or elevating models to resemble stationary seating to appeal to a broader consumer base. 

“The updated styling of our Costner Luxury Motion sofa demonstrates that motion furniture can be as fashionable as stationary furniture,” said Cheryl Sigmon, director of merchandising at Bradington-Young. “Luxury Motion has grown to be a significant portion of our overall business and our attention to detail on the perfect ‘style and comfort’ balance is what makes Bradington-Young a key player in this product category.” 

Other manufacturers are honing in on offering premium quality with a made in the USA guarantee, like Jackson Catnapper. Says Anthony A. Teague, senior vice president of sales and merchandising, “Offering our customers a domestic alternative in the leather motion category with “American scale” and an Italian Leather story has been a great formula for success for Catnapper. We have a dozen top grain leather frames with sofas ranging from the ‘import-busting’ $999 retail to the more feature-laden at $1,499 retail. When compared to much smaller-sized import products and cheap Chinese leathers, our leather motion category simply out-performs others on retail floors. Couple that with the ability to offer our customers an alternative to the pain of flowing containers, and it’s easy to understand why this category is booming for us.”

As manufacturers continue to integrate motion and technology in more product designs, retailers want to know what consumers expect for their future motion category purchases to optimize their product assortment on the sales floor. Based on a FurnitureCore, Inc. industry model developed by Impact Consulting Services, parent company to Home Furnishings Business, when asked to rank their top four feature preferences in reclining furniture products, the clear leader of feature options at 55% was ‘automated adjustable headrest and lumbar support’. For a tie in second at 45% were ‘heat and massage’ and ‘docking station for a mobile device’ features. Closely behind at 35% was a ‘storage drawer’ and ‘hidden tabletop’ at 32.5%. Other comfort and convenience features rated are shown in the graph below. 

More important, the same study polled consumers on their satisfaction rate of their most recent reclining furniture on a scale of 1-7. With all the added features to the category, it was no surprise that 87.5% of consumers rated their satisfaction with a 5+ rating (average response 5.58%). It is worth noting that the same survey polled consumers on their most recent upholstery purchases. Only 35.29% of consumers reported that the retail sales associate made them aware of reclining and power options available in upholstered products! This leaves a chance to increase average ticket behind as the same study indicated that 15% of consumers are willing to pay upwards of $200 more for power recliners. The motion products tell their own stories and practically sell themselves as long as the consumer is aware of the expanded options and customization that manufactures offer their retail partners. 

This category will continue to evolve with new, exciting features to keep up with consumer expectations by incorporating comfort features and technology without surrendering style for many years to come.

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