Americans are in desperate need of furniture, but stores are struggling with inventory issues. Here’s how to score deals


Real estate sellers aren’t the only ones gaining traction thanks to the binge eating American real estate market – furniture retailers are also profiting from Americans’ desire to move to bigger and better homes.

But the furniture industry has not escaped the supply chain issues and backlogs that have plagued other sectors experiencing increased consumer demand as vaccination rates rise and cities reopen. .

A new report from consumer intelligence firm InMarket demonstrates the buying frenzy that has taken place at furniture stores across the country in recent months. Retailers are seeing foot traffic equal to or above 2019 levels, according to the analysis.

To produce the report, InMarket tracked anonymized location data from mobile devices and purchase data from a representative sample of consumers. Bob’s Discount Furniture, which operates in 20 states nationwide, saw the biggest increase in weekly visits from 2019 levels, peaking 56% at the end of March.

Why Americans are in desperate need of new furniture

Over the past year, Americans have been on the move. A study published in April by Zillow Z,
+ 0.45%
ZG,
+ 0.69%
estimated that about one in ten Americans had moved in the past year, whether by choice or not. Many people have taken advantage of their newfound ability to work remotely to move from more distant cities to the suburbs, without having to worry about commuting.

People who chose to move in the past year have chosen to move to larger homes, research shows. And now they are faced with the daunting task of filling all this new empty space. “There is an increase in demand for new home items as people have moved or bought homes,” Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at the RetailMeNot coupon website.


“There is an increase in demand for new household items as people have moved or bought homes. ”


– Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert on the RetailMeNot coupon site

The real estate market remains hot with house prices continuing to hit record highs month after month, suggesting that the need for new furniture will not abate anytime soon.

In addition to this trend, Americans have also spent significantly more time at home over the past year, and many have chosen to spend the money they saved by not eating out or going. not in the cinema to improve their home. “That, combined with increased use and wear as consumers spend disproportionately at home, has driven demand for new furniture purchases,” said Michael Della Penna, chief strategy officer at InMarket.

Furniture industry faces backlog of orders

Furniture retailers haven’t had a chance to escape the supply chain issues that have plagued other industries experiencing a post-pandemic return.

“This increase has caused inventory issues and shipping delays,” Skirboll said. These issues range from a shortage of foam to delays related to the recent blockage of the Suez Canal, Della Penna added. The rise in the price of wood, which has caused problems for home builders, has also led to higher prices for wood furniture.

Labor is another factor, as the furniture manufacturing industry has faced a labor shortage that existed even before the pandemic.

Furniture and bedding prices hit their highest level in April since 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furniture prices rose nearly 8% year over year in April, nearly double the headline inflation rate that month.


Furniture prices rose nearly 8% a year ago in April.

Low-cost retailers like Bob’s Discount Furniture have been the biggest beneficiaries of Americans flocking to buy new furniture, in part thanks to rising prices. Other low-cost retailers that have seen foot traffic gains include Aaron’s, Rooms to Go, and Ikea.

High-end furniture stores, such as Restoration Hardware RH,
+ 0.71%
and Pottery Barn, have seen foot traffic exceed 2019 levels at times over the past few months, although the most recent data collected by InMarket showed visits were down slightly from two years earlier. InMarket compared visits from 2021 to 2019 to account for the slowdown in retail activity around the same time last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Across all categories, we have seen a shift to bargain-priced brands during the pandemic and in the face of an uncertain economy and job market,” said Della Penna.

Consumers Can Still Score Deals – Here’s How

While furniture makers may scramble to meet demand for their products, they haven’t held up advertising discounts to attract customers.

“Retailers such as Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and Macy’s have lots of furniture sales throughout the year,” said Brenda Raftlova, shopping expert at discount website Offers.com. “And while I wouldn’t say deals are harder to find, it’s important to note that the more attractive deals tend to sell out quickly.”

The average household furniture discount in 2021 so far, according to RetailMeNot data, is 18.6%, down slightly from 19.8% in 2020 and 20.4% in 2019. But Discounts on mattresses are in line with previous years, thus demonstrating the variation in prices. through the products.

Shopping experts have come up with the following tips for saving money if you’re shopping for furniture in the coming months:

  • Look for discount codes when shopping online. These codes can often offer greater savings than in-store sales. Often in-store sales will be “up to” a certain percentage off, but most items will only see small markdowns. Also watch out for discounts you may receive in exchange for adding your email address to a retailer’s mailing list. Companies like Crate & Barrel and Ikea are offering buyers a 10% discount after submitting their details.

  • Make friends with an interior designer. “If you know an interior designer, ask them if they’ll make a purchase on your behalf so you can take advantage of their industry discount,” said Trae Bodge, a shopping expert. Designers can get 10-20% discounts at many furniture retailers.

  • Buy a second hand. The more adventurous can browse the Facebook Marketplace for deals on furniture, or explore thrift stores and consignments. Some retailers, including Ikea, will also offer discounts for selling items that have been returned or on the ground model, Bodge said.

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