Online homewares sales ‘primed for exceptional growth’ – and Millennials are a driving factor

According to new research, Millennials are now reaching their nesting years, causing the country’s online buying habits to shift.

A study conducted by HookLogic entitled ‘Homewares in the UK: The Comforts of Ecommerce’ reveals that more homeware purchasing is happening via ecommerce sites than ever before.

HookLogic claimed a key driving factor is demographics. It said: ‘Millennials have entered their nesting years and this is the generation who grew up online and tends to value ease of online delivery.

‘Social media has also had enormous impact on the growth of the category. While consumers are ‘pinning’ their way to the sale, merchants in the category have made great strides to solve issues that once held it back: efficient shipping, innovative ways to show how to use the products or showcase them within home settings, videos explaining assembly and usage, and sophisticated use of data for increased customer loyalty and cross-selling.

‘Understanding the behaviours of homewares shoppers online can help brands and retailers capture some of the extraordinary growth in the category.’

For the study, HookLogic analysed 21 million transactions representing £1.9 million of sales across both the US and UK from June to July.

The ecommerce media company looked at 10 categories of products that fall under its definition of homewares: Bathroom Accessories, Furniture, Household Appliances, Kitchen Appliances, Lawn & Garden, Household Supplies, Décor, Kitchen & Dining, Lighting and Linens.

At the top of the spectrum in terms of value (pounds spent) and traffic (product page views) was Furniture, with Lighting and Bathroom Accessories at the lower end. Linens led in terms of volume (products sold).

HookLogic describes the Kitchen Appliances category as ‘high relative value and traffic, and towards the lower end in volume. Price points are high. It’s all in the details and appliances require a lot of research’.

The Kitchen & Dining category is summarised as ‘average for value and traffic but with a higher than average volume. Consumers are clearly comfortable purchasing items like pots and pans and coffee filters online without copious research’.

HookLogic concluded: ‘From a category somewhat late to the online transition, homewares is primed for exceptional growth. Given the demographic size of nesting Millennials, and retailers optimising the process, everything from couches to coffee makers are shipping from web to hearth.

‘With relatively low brand loyalty across the higher end of the category and lots of time spent on product research, there is plenty of room for brands to support ecommerce sales.

‘Just 35% of consumers browsing homeware had a brand in mind, compared to an average of 58%, giving marketers fantastic opportunities to make the most of this low brand loyalty.’

The company’s suggestions include:

*Facilitate cross-purchasing: shoppers who add more items to their baskets spend big. All of these sub-categories lend themselves to complementary products, so make sure to offer them the candlesticks with the table and the stockpot alongside the wooden spoons.

*Bring the products to life: consumers need to envision homewares like furniture within their living space. Retailers are doing everything from enabling 3D views to testing augmented reality, to give a sense of how that armoire would fit in.

*Reviews can make the sale: with high consideration products, encourage your customers to write thorough reviews and let consumers rate reviews for helpfulness, so they show up closer to the top of the page.

*There’s magic in the details: just what does it take to assemble? How do you clean it? Go beyond dimensions to provide as much useful information as possible.

*Create the online version of an end-aisle display: for a category like household supplies, with so little consideration needed, visibility is crucial.

*Improve the shopper search: for subcategories with lower conversion rates, retailers should find ways to simplify the searching process, via better navigation and information.

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