he consumer expectation of two or three day delivery times for regular goods is now translating to the furniture industry.
Furniture is fashion. More and more, like fashion, people are buying furniture to serve a short term need. It's fun to get a new clothing item ever few weeks. That emotional need is translating to furniture.
When I was a kid, people bought furniture expecting it to last. In those days many expected to be more permanent with home ownership.
Now many expect they will not own homes choosing to move more often and disposing of things more readily.
For those who do, they site nearly two thirds claim they plan to sell "due to the high cost of maintenance, taxes and mortgage payments."
Those don't disappear. Buying disposable furniture is not an avenue to enrichment.
This mentality is contagious.
From the lectra.com's presentation "Furniture, Fast!Four forces Driving Fast Furniture Delivery Expectations":
"Millennials are the poster children of this shift, but their “see-now, buy-now” mentality has permeated shoppers of all ages, who flock to their screens to enjoy the comfort and convenience of the online experience. Since the internet allows for immediate price comparison and forums to discuss quality, consumers expect the immediacy of online interactions to be transposed into “real-life,” with immediate delivery as well."
Some online retailers have responded by making well made modular furniture which is easier to ship, a huge expense. But many, like Wayfair and Amazon offer more cheaply made items and while their return policies seem attractive, they have hidden time bombs.
I have confirmed from designers and consumers that while they stand by their return policies, that doesn’t mean they return items to stock. Some online marketplaces simply send you a new item and expect you to dispose of the old one yourself.
One client told me he purchased new outdoor furniture on Wayfair and it was missing a single piece. Rather than send him the individual part, he was sent an entirely new piece ... five times. The waste was incredible. Each new shipment was missing the same part.
A designer who did a commercial job told me that while the pieces for a large office project were exchanged, the first shipment went to the dump.
This mentality, exacerbated by the instant nature of social media, has created the expectation of a one week delivery time.
Furniture has come to be seen as a part of a person that evolves. Perhaps instead of filling a room all at once, designing to evolve and be added to over time is an answer?
I look forward to your thoughts.
For more information about the lectra.com’s report on which this blog was based, please feel free to email me for the link.
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Elliot J. Nitkin
THE FURNITURE & ART CONCIERGE