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From Home Furnishing Business

What Sells: There is Change in the Wind

The focus in the past decade has been, “What is the functionality of Upholstery?” Average unit selling price has exploded, fueling the growth of the motion category. The results in that the motion category now represents 36.6% of all retailer’s sales. This number includes traditional recliners, which have become more fashionable and escaped the family room.


Stationary upholstery still represents over half of all upholstery sales and has enjoyed renewed growth in 2017 and continues in the first half of this year.

What is driving this growth? No linger is the sofa or sofa grouping – sofa/love or sofa/chair, the point around which the room evolves. The sofa, with its many configurations; sectionals, chaise, and the many other choices, have become a functional part of a more casual lifestyle.

“We have seen great success with our frames that offer deep, plush seating as well as fashion. This frame specifically can fit in a variety of spaces and is great for day to day family living. Everyone seems to love the ‘curl up’ furniture!”

 - Celeste Brayton, Product Development Manager, Emerald Home Furnishings

The demand of the consumer is more. More selection, that is. According to FurnitureCore research, a better selection was the most challenging issue as presented below.

Style is changing to meet the need of the new industry customer. While the Baby Boomers fade into the sunset, Generation X and the older Millennials are searching for a new look.

In a recent study of urban markets where style direction starts, FurnitureCore found that consumers under 35 favor Mid-Century design twice as much as those over 35.

As can be seen from the table, other styles are gaining favor with the emerging consumer target.

If we move beyond the very subjective definition of style, we find that consumers are moving away from the “plum overstuff” in favor of “sleek tight body cover.” 

“As a category, swivel chairs are in high demand due to their functionality that allows individuals to swivel to a conversation, a breath-taking view, or a big-screen moment.”

-Del Starnes, President/COO, Taylor King

A contributing factor is the continuing reduction of size of living space. Again, from FurnitureCore research on urban living, the “dream” style of consumers living in smaller spaces favor style other than traditional.

Stationary upholstery will always be the base of decorating one’s living space. Manufacturers today must recognize the taste of the new target consumer and the restriction of their environment.

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