As E-Commerce Home Furnishings Sales Grow, So Does Webrooming

Consumers like the idea of in-the-moment shopping
November 9, 2017Allison Zisko

Woman shopping on cell phoneDENVER –A majority of consumers are willing to purchase furniture online, according to a new e-commerce survey conducted by digital marketing agency Adtaxi. But a growing number of consumers are also researching products online and then purchasing them in stores.

The company’s inaugural State of Ecommerce in America survey, which polled 1,000 Americans across the U.S. representing a broad range in household income, geographic location, age and gender, examined e-commerce trends and consumer preferences nationwide to determine how willing consumers are to make online purchases. It found that 72 percent would be willing to purchase furniture online.

Furniture e-commerce sales are expected to grow 15 percent next year and will be a roughly $50 billion business in 2019, according to Evan Tennant, national director of e-commerce for Adtaxi. Shopping for home furnishings online, like online grocery shopping, is growing as consumers get more comfortable with the idea, Tennant said.

A majority of consumers factor online shopping into their purchasing decisions—regardless of whether actually making the purchase in store or online, the survey found. Nine out of ten (89 percent) consumers have gone to a retail store first and then looked for better prices online. Conversely, nine out of ten (91 percent) consumers have also done shopping research online before going to a retail store. And a majority (54 percent) of consumers who do research online first ask the retailer to match the online price.

“Webrooming is the new powerhouse in the equation,” Tennant told HFN. Webrooming, or researching a product online and then heading to a store to purchase it, was born from mobile, Tennant said, citing market research from Nielsen Scarborough. Consumers, particularly younger ones, have gotten caught up in in-the-moment shopping. Researching a product on the spot while in the store and walking out with it has become the desirable way to shop. Sephora led the way with this in the beauty category, but the practice is expanding into the furniture segment, he said. And as consumers’ patience and attention spans deteriorate, webrooming will become even more important, along with customer service, product variety and real-time inventory information.

“There’s never been a better time to have an e-commerce site but also a brick and mortar experience,” Tennant said.

Allison ZiskoAllison Zisko | Managing Editor/Tabletop Editor

After 15 years of covering the tabletop industry, Allison Zisko is still as enthusiastic as ever about the dinnerware, glassware and flatware categories. An in-depth analysis of how the category works intrigues her just as much as the latest fashion trends. As managing editor, Allison oversees the daily e-newsletter and works behind the scenes to help produce the print issue each month. She also directs HFN’s housewares coverage and covers the cutlery category. An avid reader, Allison is eager to talk to anyone and everyone about the latest book they are reading.


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