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From Home Furnishing Business

What Sells: Getting Back in Motion

When the year 2020 feels like it has been an entire decade, what better furniture category to discuss than motion, whose features are expertly designed for rest and relaxation? Your customer deserves to put their feet up when times get tough (and so do you), but they need a trusted product that will deliver. As Tony McCracken, president of sales at Mac Motion Chairs says, “We know how hard you work, so we work just as hard to ensure that you have a rejuvenating place to rest.”


The conversation around this category tends to focus heavily on its features—voice activation recline, cup holders, USB chargers, and the like. While these features are undoubtedly important, today’s conversation needs to shed light on topics we are currently grappling with like the pandemic, low stock, and tariffs. Are manufacturers stepping up with solutions? One manufacturer’s approach is enlightening, though their techniques are not exactly new to the company. According to Anthony A. Teague, senior vice president of sales and merchandising at Jackson Catnapper, “In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, dealers are more reluctant to import than ever. Domestic supply has become more important to our retailers across the country.

Fears over the growing tension between the U.S. and China has raised concerns of long-lasting tariffs. Also, our customers don’t want the risk of tying up cash for months with imports as they begin to rebuild their businesses. Providing a stateside alternative to import leather motion - with cleaner looks, luxurious Italian leathers, and aggressive pricing - has allowed us to gain significant share in the category.”

Considering the tumult that has defined our year thus far, consumers are purchasing furniture via retailer websites, by appointment, or as regular walk-in traffic where possible. Many retailers are seeing record-breaking sales results while juggling supply chain and delivery issues. This brings us to the ultimate question: what are consumers looking for in their motion furniture purchases? Luckily we can lean on a FurnitureCore, Inc. survey developed by Impact Consulting Services, parent company to Home Furnishings Business, to address exactly what consumers want.

According to the survey, consumers were asked which mechanisms are preferred as a reclining method. The results were hand operated (lever) models at 53.33%, followed by power operated models at 33.33%, and body pressure, or push back models, coming in last at 13.33%. These preferred mechanisms seem to be price driven as the same survey also polled consumers on how much more they would be willing to pay for a power recliner as opposed to a manually operated recliner. The top response was only $50 more at 37.5% of surveyed consumers. 25% of those surveyed would pay $100 more for a power reclining model, 12.5% would pay $150 more, and the remaining 25% would pay $200 or more for power options.

Ultimately, the consumer must understand the value in power and motion products: comfort. Says Gentry Long, vice president at HomeStretch, “Our custom comfort collection continues to excel on retail floors. Consumers in the market for motion furniture expect exceptional comfort, a durable covering and unique function.” When consumers are shopping upholstery, the retail sales associate must make them aware of their options. The same study conducted by FurnitureCore, Inc. found that only roughly half of consumers are informed of the reclining and power options available in an upholstered product. Let’s drive those average tickets up by highlighting the great advances in the power and motion category!

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