As the pandemic emerged on the North American continent in March 2020, public life was abruptly called to a halt. Major events were canceled, stores were closed, and many Americans were forced to work from home. Whereas some may have hoped that this work-from-home phase would only be a temporary necessity, soon it became clear that the American office worker was confined to the home office for the foreseeable future. Working from home came with a large set of challenges, for employers and employees alike. Whereas some welcomed the new office setting, others struggled with the social dynamic, or lack thereof, in the home office. In addition, the new status quo required changes to be made in people’s homes. Home offices had to be upgraded or built up from scratch, leading to increased demand in the niche market of home office furniture.
How did the home office furniture industry respond?
The sudden nationwide need for home office furniture such as desks, chairs, and cabinets required manufacturers and retailers to adapt quickly. Aside from expanding their home office selection and offering enhanced financing options, nearly 70 percent of furniture retailers in the U.S. increased their e-commerce focus. This last strategy was vital due to the forced closure of furniture stores in many parts of the country. In fact, retail sales of furniture stores dropped by nearly 60 percent in April 2020, compared to the year before. Even though plummeting retail sales caused revenue dips for market leaders in office furniture manufacturing and retail, the home office industry became more profitable than ever. For instance, the major office furniture chain Herman Miller reported sales growth rates of over 300 percent for home office furniture.
The post-pandemic future of home office furniture
The future office environment is likely to be one in which work-from-home and working from the office coexist. Just before the pandemic, a survey indicated that more than one third of U.S. companies operating in the digital sphere had a “hybrid remote” work policy, with another 45 percent of companies adopting a “100 percent remote” approach. Similar observations can be made from a June 2020 survey, conducted just after the first pandemic wave. It revealed that nearly half of U.S. employees would prefer a combination of working from home and working from the office. In the meantime, since many working Americans now have a home office setup, this particular branch of the furniture industry is worth focusing on for manufacturers and retailers alike.
Home office overview
Description: Close to 80 percent of employees in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and China are satisfied with working from home during the pandemic. 34 percent of employees in the United Kingdom love working from home and easily see themselves doing that forever. As with employee preferences, working policies by businesses, public bodies and employers could also see significant changes regarding where and how people work after the pandemic.
Description: In 2021, 32 percent of respondents currently working at least partially outside of the office indicated that their company has a 100 percent remote policy. This is a slight increase from the previous year. Only 14 percent of respondents stated that remote work in their company is allowed but not the norm, down from 25 percent in 2020.
Description: According to an opinion poll conducted early April 2020, 20 percent of U.S. adults are able to work from home during the pandemic outbreak, and are doing so.
Description: In a June 2020 survey, 22.8 percent of participants that worked from home during the pandemic said that they would like to continue working from home on a permanent basis. Adversely, 31.9 percent said that they would like to return to the office after the outbreak ends.
Description: As of March 2020, workers in the United States are mainly communicating with their co-workers remotely due to the pandemic. Of those working from home, 26 percent are using e-mail as their means of communication. Additionally, 20 percent are using video calling with platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Only seven percent of U.S. workers are using audio conferencing lines to communicate with co-workers.
Description: As of mid-2021, 27 percent of Americans stated that a top benefit of working remotely is having more family time. Further, 18 percent of respondents indicated that working remotely means being in a less stressful environment, which is considered a benefit.
Description: The statistic shows the top challenges of working from home in the United States in 2020. As of April 2020, 33 percent of respondents named the difficulty of collaborating with co-workers as the biggest challenge of working remotely.
Description: In 2020, furniture store sales in the United States were estimated to reach 65.83 billion U.S. dollars, up from 63.6 billion registered a year earlier. By 2021, this value was forecast to reach 68 billion U.S. dollars, while the sales for furniture and bedding were projected to reach 119.8 billion U.S. dollars.
Description: This statistic shows the retail sales of home office RTA furniture in the United States from 2012 to 2019. In 2019, U.S. retail sales of home office RTA furniture amounted to approximately 1.14 billion U.S. dollars.
Description: This statistic shows the retail sales of home office seating in the United States from 2012 to 2019. In 2019, U.S. retail sales of home office seating amounted to approximately 1.9 billion U.S. dollars.
Description: In 2020, sales of furniture and home furnishings of U.S. electronic shopping and mail-order houses increased massively. E-commerce sales amounted to almost 11 billion U.S. dollars, up from the previous year, when they did not go over 6.9 billion U.S. dollars.
Description: 69 percent of furniture retailers in the United States reported that they planned to increase their focus on e-commerce in response to the pandemic.
Description: Amazon.com is leading the Furniture & Appliances e-commerce market in the U.S., with e-commerce net sales of US$ 15,747 million in 2020 generated in the U.S., followed by Homedepot.com with US$ 11,502 million. Third place is taken by Walmart.com with a revenue of US$ 9,867 million. Wayfair.com is the fourth biggest Furniture & Appliances online store in the U.S. with net sales of US$ 8,829 million in 2020.
Description: This statistic depicts the revenue of Steelcase worldwide from 2016 to 2021, by region. In 2021, Steelcase’s Americas segment generated revenues amounting to approximately 1.85 billion U.S. dollars.
Description: Steelcase Inc., the largest manufacturer of office furniture in the world, saw its revenues drop significantly in 2020 due to the pandemic crisis. As employees all over the Americas were forced to work from home, the demand for office furniture diminished. In addition, the closing of factories and retail locations lead to a decrease in the manufacturing capabilities of Steelcase in 2020.
Description: This statistic shows the net sales of Herman Miller worldwide from 2016 to 2021, by geographic region. In 2021, Herman Miller’s net sales in the United States amounted to approximately 1.73 billion U.S. dollars.
Description: Herman Miller’s home office furniture sales tripled in 2020, peaking at a 326% growth in Q3. Herman Miller, one of the leading office furniture manufacturers and retailers in the world, was affected heavily by the pandemic crisis. Whereas retailers were forced to close their doors during lockdowns, online sales in most categories increased immensely.
Description: Retail sales of IKEA North America Svcs in the United States amounted to 5.91 billion U.S. dollars, up from 5.33 billion recorded a year earlier. IKEA operates around 51 stores in the United States.
Description: In 2021, Office Depot’s sales amounted to approximately 8.46 billion U.S. dollars. In comparison, the company had net sales of over 11 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. In the last year depicted, Office Depot’s net loss reached 208 million U.S. dollars.
Description: In 2020, 27 percent of consumers were prioritizing a desk when considering purchasing home office furniture in the United States. Demand for home office furniture spiked as a result of the pandemic, with widespread lockdowns and stay at home orders across the United States.
Description: In 2020, two thirds of consumers in the United States planned to fund their home office furniture purchases through their own finances. Demand for home office furniture spiked as a result of the pandemic, with widespread lockdowns and stay at home orders across the United States.
Description: As of April 2020, 34 percent of consumers in the United States planned to carry out their home office furniture purchases within the next month. Desks and chairs were the most sought after type of home office furniture among U.S. consumers.
Description: Desk chairs were the leading intended purchase for a home office across all generations in the U.S. in 2021. Nearly 41 percent of Millennials indicated that they planned to buy an office chair, versus roughly 24 percent of Baby Boomers. According to this survey, Millennials were the most likely generation to purchase home office items in 2021.
Description: Most American Millennials expected to pay less than 200 U.S. dollars for a desk in 2021. Meanwhile, most Baby Boomers indicated that their next home office desk would cost anywhere between $200 and $499. Interestingly, home office desks in the most expensive category were preferred by roughly eight percent of Millennials, versus less than four percent of Baby Boomers and Generation X.
Description: During a June 2020 survey, 53.5 percent of respondents said that they would occasionally browse social media while working from home during the pandemic despite it not being allowed in the office. Visiting adult sites during the work hours is another prohibited activity that 43.2 percent of survey participants admitted to doing while in home office.
Description: This statistic shows which ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture products consumers would most likely purchase, if they were to make an RTA furniture purchase in the next 12 months, in the United States as of 2020. The survey revealed that 41.8 percent of U.S. consumers would most likely purchase bookshelves, if they were to make an RTA furniture product purchase in the next 12 months.
Source from Statista.
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