Consumers have been slow to adopt the concept of buying furniture on the Internet. For sellers, furniture is cumbersome and costly to get to the buyer. Even Ikea, the maestro of flat-pack furniture, built its low-cost concept on cheap in-store purchases and only recently become involved in the eCommerce side of the business.
That said, merchants are gaining ground in online furniture and home goods sales.
It is expected UK retail eCommerce furniture sales will hit more than 20 billion GBP in 2020. That will account for around 15% of total retail eCommerce sales, but it will signify the fastest expansion among manufactured goods categories.
Where does Amazon fit into the overall scenario? It’s not automatically the first seller you think of when looking for furniture, but statistics show many online shoppers are increasingly shunning search engines like Google and Bing and going directly to Amazon.
In 2017 the e-commerce giant introduced Amazon Home which comprises everything from beds and sofas to DIY and gardening tools.
According to new data from One Click Retail, furniture sales on Amazon.co.uk increased by 51% year on year in 2017. Bedroom furniture and living room furniture were the most popular categories.
While these figures are encouraging, furniture is a category with the highest in-store purchasing preference, according to a March 2018 study.
Only 12% of UK internet users surveyed preferred to buy furniture online.
Soft home furnishings and home accessories also ranked highly for high street sales with 71.8% of respondents favouring physical retail. Approximately only 18% of buyers chose shopping for those products by way of digital channels.
Retailers rely on merchandise photos and customer reviews to convince digital furniture shoppers but are progressively testing developing technology such as AR (Augmented Reality).
Wayfair and Ikea are at the forefront of using artificial intelligence in apps to provide visual search and augmented reality tools to help customers see how beds, tables, and chairs will look in their own homes.