HIGH POINT — In terms of sales space, retailers got the most bang for their buck out of bedding in 2019: The category accounted for one-fifth of retailer’s sales but occupied just 16% of the sales floor. This is the best ratio of sales vs. selling space out of any category this year.
Although bedding accounted for the largest share of sales this year, stationary upholstery compromised the most selling space, at an average of 23%. Stationary upholstery nearly matched bedding sales too, accounting for 19% of total sales this year.
The master bedroom category is lagged in terms of sales share in 2019. The category accounted for 13% of sales, on average, but made up 15% of the sales floor.
These metrics also provide insight into which categories had the best performance last year.
Bedding’s share of sales jumped from 12% to 20% from 2018 to 2019. The jump in sales can be partially attributed to the increased sales space dedicated to mattresses. Last year, 10% of the sales floor was dedicated to bedding but that number reached 16% this year. Stationary upholstery’s performance was relatively consistent with last year, while the master bedroom slightly declined: The category’s share of sales fell from 19% to 13%.
This is the second edition of Furniture Today’s Furniture Store Performance Report that includes all furniture retailers. Previously, this survey was based only on stores listed in our Top 100 report. This decision was made to keep the data as representative and relevant as possible to all furniture retailers.
Retailers are optimistic for rest of 2020 and beyond
Nearly two-thirds of responding furniture retailers reported higher performance over the last two months (September to November) compared with the same period in 2019. Only 29% said performance over that period was lower than last year, and just 7% reported business was flat over that period.
Although consumer demand is soaring, many furniture retailers are plagued with inventory shortage. According to this year’s survey, 65% of retailers are experiencing an inventory shortage. Of that group, 36% described their shortage as “minor,” and 29% said theirs was “major.”
Retailers are bullish on the rest of 2020, too, as 77% expect consumer demand to remain the same or increase. Of that group, 31% expect consumer demand to greatly increase. Many retailers also believe online sales are going to grow over the next six months. Fifteen percent expect their online business to greatly increase over the next six months, while 23% estimate their online business will “somewhat increase.” Only 8% expect their online sales to decline.
Domestic and imported product each occupied half of retailer’s sales floors, on average, in this year’s survey. Domestic product slightly outperformed imported merchandise in sales share, at 53% vs. 46%.
Best-selling price points mostly stayed the same or declined this year. Casual dining sets decreased from $799 to $599, while outdoor dining sets fell from $1,799 to $1,299. Formal dining showed a large increase, reaching $2,749, up from $1,999 last year.
The best-selling price point for a leather sectional sofa fell from $2,700 to $2,332. Fabric sofas showed a similar decline, falling by 11.8%.
Facebook top social media
Merchandise sales accounted for an average of 85% of retailer’s sales last year. Design and delivery services comprised an additional 7% of revenue.
An average of 11% of furniture retailer’s budgets were devoted to advertising last year, up 1% from last year.
Virtually all furniture stores are using social media in a variety of ways, from staying connected to customers to selling merchandise.
Facebook remains the most popular overall platform, followed by Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Facebook is also the heavy favorite for advertising sales and promotions, with 79% of respondents doing so this year.
Additionally, half of all responding retailers this year sell directly from Facebook and one-fourth also sell from both Instagram and Twitter.