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From Home Furnishing Business

What Sells: You're Covered

Cover your bases on the sales floor with upholstery. As a broad category that includes both motion and stationary, there is a style, price point, and solution for every consumer. Stability in this category can be attributed to more than one single factor.

Looking back over the past year, the upholstery category has held steady at 33.2% of total Furniture and Bedding sales YTD according to a FurnitureCore, Inc. industry model developed by Impact Consulting Services, parent company to Home Furnishings Business. Though there has been buzz around the motion segment of the category regarding voice control, concealed USB chargers, and many other innovations, stationary furniture has seen some excitement as well. Performance fabrics for durability, modern designs that allow for style and comfort, and most importantly, customization, have lent this segment of the category a boost.

According to Luis Ruesga, Zuo Modern CEO, “2019 trends show, more than ever, people desire a stylish home but prioritize comfort. The current trends of 50s and 60s Pop prioritize layers and textures in upholstery— all the features that make a home more fun and comfier. Sofas and armchairs are overstuffed and more cushioned which allows for maximum comfort. We are at the age of Max Upholstered furniture. Zuo strives to make our furniture equally as comfortable as it is aesthetically pleasing. Our new upholstery furniture allows for both style and comfort. We wanted big and bold shapes, but also wanted to emphasize the softness and curves of good old comfy couch. So, we took a very Deco shape and made it plush.”

In line with Zuo’s stance regarding upholstery are the findings of the FurnitureCore industry model. When consumers were polled on which look they selected for their most recent upholstery furniture purchase, 55.71% selected plump, overstuffed sofas with deep seating compared to 44.29% who selected a sleek, tight body cover following the line of furniture.

Many manufacturers have boosted their ability for customization in their upholstery lines, driving business in the right direction for retailers who are able to retain a small footprint at retail. Take Bradington-Young’s Luxe for Living Collection for example. Cheryl Sigmon, director of merchandising, expands on this idea saying, “The Luxe for Living program is a best seller because it allows our retail partners to display a variety of SKU configurations within the motion and stationary categories in a small footprint on the retail sales floor. It can also be customized in a variety of covers including more than 150 leather selections and over 135 performance fabric selections. With customization being so important to consumers today, this is a key selling feature.”

Klaussner has the same mindset, bent on keeping the category from stagnation. “Klaussner Furniture offers our customers so many options, from special order to selecting the exact type of frame design the end consumer is looking for” says Jill Sprehe, director of stationary upholstery at Klaussner. “The importance of allowing the consumers’ choices ensures the industry stays fresh and relevant. A bland sea of sameness will get us all nowhere.”

Surprisingly, given today’s fast paced environment in the age of the Internet, consumers are willing to wait for these customized pieces. According to the same FurnitureCore study, consumers polled on the length of time they would be willing to wait for a customized sofa, 25.71% said they were willing to wait 1-3 months for their delivered purchase. The majority, 44.29%, were willing to wait up to one month, which is the most common anticipated manufacture timeframe. The remainder is identified on the adjacent page.

When consumers consider purchasing their next upholstery furniture piece they are largely placing them in their living rooms (71.43%) or family rooms (30.71%) based on the study. The remaining 4.28% place their purchase in the bedroom or another room. With the majority of these purchases being placed in high traffic areas, it is no small wonder that performance fabrics are in demand. Whether these pieces are in homes with small children, pets, or enthusiastic red wine drinkers, accidents happen! Performance fabrics ease consumers’ minds and boost confidence in their purchase.

Read on to see the manufactures’ best sellers and the myriad reasons why their products are a success.

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