Home Furnishings

May 9, 2012: Home Furnishings

Several months ago I told you about how auspicious a year 2012 is supposed to be because it is, according to the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Dragon. A dragon year is supposed to be quite lucky, on both personal and professional levels.

CNBC reports that research from IBM Global Business Services is “forecasting a surge in demand for home furnishings in the second quarter of this year.” The report says in-store sales of home furnishings will increase about 8 percent, to $23.22 billion, and online sales will grow a whopping 28.4 percent.

Part of the surge, Jill Puleri, the global retail leader for IBM Global Business Services, told CNBC, is due to the increased “desire to wed or have a child during this time.” Obviously newlyweds and new parents often purchase new furniture. IBM backs up the sunny forecast with the fact that 12 years ago (the last Year of the Dragon) was “a banner year for sales of home goods,” ranking as the third best year in a 21-year period.

Of course, in general consumers are feeling better about the economy, and after “making do” for several years, are ready to spruce up their homes. Similar to what’s going on in the fashion market, it’s not necessarily the big-ticket items (like furniture) driving sales, but more lower-priced goods like pillows, lamps and other accessories.

Obviously there’s a lot of opportunity here for both online and offline retailers. And don’t forget the coming of age of Gen Y. They’re graduating from college, establishing careers and moving into their own places (albeit a bit slowly). And since we have a lot of female Millennials headed towards the average age women get married in America (about 27), this spending trend on home goods will likely grow much stronger.