New Furniture Trend after COVID-19: Home Office

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumer demand for home office furniture has surged. And it doesn’t appear to be abating until now. The home office furniture market continues to receive strong consumer attention as more people work at home and more companies adopt remote work.

So, what are the characteristics of home office furniture? What are the attitudes of millennial consumers?

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The integration of home and office is accelerating

Zhang Rui, sales director of the office field of LINAK (China) in Denmark, believes, “From the perspective of global trends, home furniture is paying more and more attention to office functions. While the office space is also paying more attention to comfort. Office furniture and residential furniture are slowly integrating. Many European and American companies encourage employees to work from home, upgrade desks and introduce ergonomic chairs.” For that, LINAK Systems has also created a series of products that adapt to the trend.

Aspenhome, a major producer of home office furniture, added: “The surge in home office furniture sales has really turned into a long-term positive trend for this category. We believe that consumers’ perceptions and values of home workspaces have fundamentally changed.”

Keep employees working from home

Labor shortages play a role in this demand. Since this is a labor market, one way to attract really good employees is to allow them to work from their homes comfortably.

Mike Harris, president of Hooker Furniture, said: “Based on the uptick in sales of filing cabinets and similar components, we think people are more focused on work-only spaces they intend to use over time. They buy office furniture to create a lasting and defined workspace that matches their needs and style.”

Therefore, companies have stepped up their efforts on the product development, saying the new product is much more than simply designing a table. Storage cabinets, filing cabinets, cable storage, charging pads, and space for multiple computers and monitors are also very important.

Neil McKenzie, director of product development, said: “We are bullish on the future of this type of product. A lot of companies are allowing employees to work from home permanently. It’s getting harder and harder to find the right workforce. One company that attracts and keeps people must allow employees to work from home, especially those with children.”

Flexibility is critical to adapt to different areas

In the field of office furniture, another fluctuating market is Mexico, which ranked fourth in exports to the United States in 2020 and jumped to third in 2021, an increase of 61% to $1.919 billion.

McKenzie said: “We found that customers wanted more flexibility, meaning that furniture could be adapted to the room, with more work areas, rather than one large dedicated office space. “

Martin Furniture expressed the same sentiment. The company founder and CEO Gil Martin said: “We supply wood panels and laminates for residential and commercial office furniture. Versatility is the key, and we produce office furniture for any environment, from home office to a complete office. Their current offering includes sit/stand desks, all with power and USB ports. Small laminate sit-stand desks that fit anywhere are produced. Bookcases, filing cabinets and desks with plinths are also in demand.”

New Furniture Catagory: a mix of home and office

Twin Star Home remains committed to a mix of office and home categories. “As most consumers suddenly move to work and study from home, spaces in their homes become mixed,” said Lisa Cody, its senior vice president of marketing. For many, the home office is also the dining room , the kitchen is also a classroom. “

Jofran Furniture’s recent entry into the home office space has also seen a shift in customer demand towards home office. CEO Joff Roy said: “Each of our collections is focused on providing a different style, compact solution, because working from home changes the layout of the entire house, not just a dedicated room. “

Century Furniture consider a home office more than just an “office.” Its VP of marketing, Comer Wear, said: “The nature of work has changed dramatically as less shackles and paper are required to increase productivity. People can work from home on laptops, tablets and mobile phones. We feel that in the future most families will have a work-from-home space, not necessarily a home office. People are using spare bedrooms or other places where desks can be placed. So we tend to make more tables that can decorate a living room or a bedroom.”

“Demand is strong across the board, and desk sales are up significantly,” says Tonke. “It shows they’re not being used for dedicated office space. If you have a dedicated office, you don’t need a desk.”

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Customized personal style is increasingly important

Dave Adams, vice president of marketing at BDL, which has long been committed to the home office space, believes that “this is an era of anti-big furniture companies.” Nowadays, consumers who find themselves working from home partly or permanently are ditching the boxy corporate image in favor of furniture that expresses their personal style. Sure, they need a workplace where storage and comfort are plentiful, but more than ever to express their individuality.

Highland House has also seen an uptick in bespoke demand. “We have quite a few customers in this market asking for more desks and chairs with casters,” said President Nathan Copeland. “We mainly produce office chairs, but customers want it to look like a dining chair. Our custom table program allows customers to customize any size table they need. They can choose veneer and hardware, with the custom business boosted.”

Parker House also remains committed to this category, pointing to a need across the board. said Marietta Willey, the company’s vice president of product development and marketing. “People want more functionality, desks with multi-purpose storage, the function of lifting and moving. What’s more, they want more flexibility, height adjustable desks and more modular, etc. Different people have different needs .”

Women are becoming a key consumer group

Parker House, Martin and Vanguard are all focusing on women. Weili, vice president of Parker House, said: “In the past, we didn’t focus on female customers. But now we find that bookcases are becoming more decorative and people are paying more attention to the appearance of furniture. We are doing more decorative features and fabrics. .”

“Many women are looking for small and stylish products that fit their personal style,” adds Aspenhome’s McIntosh, “We’ve also stepped up our efforts to develop different furniture categories, a desk or bookcase that fits in a living room or bedroom, not out of place.”

Martin Furniture says the furniture must be useful for mothers who work at the dinner table and now need a permanent workspace to keep up with demand.

High-end office furniture is in great demand, especially custom office furniture. Under the Make It Yours program, customers are free to choose from different sizes, table and chair legs, materials, finishes and custom finishes. He expects the home office trend to continue for at least another five years. “The work-from-home trend will continue, especially for working women who are balancing childcare with work.”

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Millennials: Getting ready to work from home

Furniture Today Strategic Insights Department conducted an online survey of 754 nationally representative consumers in June and July 2021 to assess their shopping preferences.

According to the survey, nearly 39% of people in their 20s and 30s have added an office to cope with working from home caused by the epidemic. Less than a third of millennials (born 1982-2000) already own a home office. While the Gen X (born 1965-1980) and baby boomers (born 1945-1965) respectively are 54 % and 81%. Fewer than 4% of Millennials and Gen Xers have also added an office to accommodate home-based learning.

About 36% of consumers have invested between $100 and $499 for home office and study space. But nearly a quarter of millennials say they spend between $500 and $999, while 7.5% spend more than $2,500 . By comparison, nearly 40% of baby boomers and about 25% of Gen Xers spend less than $100.

More than one-third of the respondents bought a new office chair. And over one-quarter chose to buy a desk. Besides, accessories such as bookends, hanging pictures, and lamp shades are also very popular. The largest number of window covering buyers are millennials, and previously it was baby boomers.

Shopping online or offline?

As for shopping place, some 63% of respondents said they shopped primarily or exclusively online during the pandemic, a rate nearly on par with Gen Xers. However, the number of millennials shopping online has risen to nearly 80%, with more than a third making their purchases via the internet. And 56% of baby boomers shop primarily or exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores.

Amazon is the leader in online furniture wholesale discount stores, followed by purely online furniture sites like Wayfair.

With some customers preferring to buy office furniture offline, mass merchants such as Target and Walmart performed the best, gaining about 38%. And then followed by office and home goods stores, and Ikea. and other national furniture stores. About one-fifth of shoppers shop at local furniture stores, while just over 6% buy on local furniture retail websites.

Consumers also do some research before making a purchase, with 60% saying they research what they want to buy. People typically read online reviews, conduct keyword searches, and visit furniture manufacturers and retailers’ websites to search for information.

Looking ahead: Trends will continue to gain momentum

The head companies of home office furniture agree that the trend of home office will continue.

“When we realized that working from home could be a long-term phenomenon, we changed our launch schedule for new products,” said Edward Audi, president of Stickley.

According to BDI: “65% of people who have been working from home say they want to keep this situation. And that means the need for home office furniture isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it just gives people more opportunities to develop creative work solutions.”

Manufacturers and retailers are also pleased to see the growing popularity of height-adjustable desks and stand-sit desks. This ergonomic feature is especially important for those who must work 8 hours a day or more in a home office.

Martin Furniture also sees growth continuing into 2022, which, although slower than the previous two years, will still show promising double-digit growth.

Article source: Furniture Today

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