Top 7 Things You Should Know About Millennial Furniture Shoppers

May 29, 2018

The misconception that Millennials won’t make large purchases such as furniture is pervasive. While it’s true that Millennials make less money than their parents, are less likely to  be homeowners and tend to have less money in the bank than older generations, it is not true that  they are not buying furniture at all.

Millennials exhibit clear preferences for when, how and what furniture they shop for. We are counting down our picks for the top 7 things you should know about Millennial furniture shoppers in our final installment in our Millennial May-hem series. (Check out our Millennials 101 article for an overview of Millennials.)

#1. Millennials buy furniture from brick and mortar stores.

63% of Millennials’ indoor home furnishings purchases are made in a brick and mortar store. However, Millennials make up the largest group of online furniture purchases-47% of Millennials buy furniture online (vs. 40% of Gen X and 36% of Boomers).

The preference for in-store purchases is right on trend for Millennials’ overall shopping preferences. Eight in 10 Millennials prefer shopping in stores to online shopping, as we pointed out in our How Millennials Shop article.

Takeaway point: Millennials like buying furniture from a physical store. Consider an ad campaign that invites Millennials to your store for a unique shopping experience.

#2. Millennials do their product research.

50% of Millennials spend 2 to 3 weeks researching and shopping for furniture and about 75% of Millennials shop at 2 to 4 retailers before buying furniture.

47% of Millennials research furniture before buying it, which is the highest of all age groups. 78% of Millennials say online product reviews influence their purchase decisions.

Women ages 25-24 are 33% more likely to search for furniture online.

Social media plays a large role in product discovery, especially for the Millennials. 60% of Millennials use Pinterest for furniture research.

Takeaway point: Leverage your digital channels to make product information easily accessible. Millennials will look for product reviews. About 75% of Millennials will spend more money on sustainable products, so be sure to include eco-friendly information. If you don’t provide it, Millennials will be forced to hunt it down elsewhere.

#3. Millennials must not be missed.

Targeting millennials is important because they are the largest consumer group in the U.S. furnishings market. Overall, the U.S. furniture market is growing at a rate of 2.9% per year with furniture ecommerce projected to take up 30% of the total furniture market.

The furniture market grew 5.8% year-over-year from April 2017 to April 2018, according to the most recent data available from National Retail Federation.

Takeaway point: Millennials represent a substantial share of the growing furniture market. Failure to take their preferences into account leaves more money on the table for competitors who are targeting Millennial furniture shoppers.

#4. Millennials aren’t big spenders on furniture.

Millennials spend less on furniture than the older generations. Furniture and bedding account for 4.5% of Millennials’ spending (vs. 7.3% of Gen X; 10% of Boomers; 9.4% of Traditionalists).

Limited financial resources and increased mobility are two reasons Millennials are unwilling to invest in long-term furniture purchases.

Takeaway point: Millennials treat furniture as a more disposal type of purchase than past generations. Furniture is no longer a long-term investment for the future but rather an item needed for comfort and/or convenience.

#5. Millennials don’t use credit cards much.

Millennials are using less credit than the older generations. They carry an average of 2.5 cards each compared to Boomer’s average of 3.5 credit cards and Gen X’s 3.2 credit card average.

Millennials are also putting less on their credit cards than the older generations. On average, Millennials have a balance of $4,315 on their cards while Boomers average $7,550 in credit card debt and Gen X averages $7,750.

Takeaway point: Pushing in-store credit cards probably won’t play well to Millennials. Find other ways to work with them on financing.

#6. Make it unique.

40% of Millennials say their home furnishings must reflect their personal style (vs. 27% of the overall population who say the same).

In general, Millennials look for furniture that makes their lives easier and more enjoyable. Unique pieces of furniture that are customizable and/or integrate with technology will catch the eye of the Millennial furniture shopper. Also, Millennials tend to live in smaller spaces, so they look for furniture that is multifunctional.

Takeaway point: Millennials ARE buying furniture—they are just particular with their purchases.

#7. Millennials expect free shipping.

Almost 1 in 3 Millennials expect free shipping on all products all the time. Furniture companies such as  Wayfair and Campaign Furniture offer free shipping.

Takeaway point: Free shipping is a major selling point for Millennials. If this is not viable for your company, consider that 90% of Millennials use coupons. Leverage coupons for shipping deals or get creative with click-and-collect services to entice Millennial furniture shoppers.

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