The Home Furnishings Association (HFA) announced an exclusive partnership this week with investment bank Piper Sandler to release the industry’s first research report for furniture retailers. The Piper Sandler/Home Furnishings Association Furniture Retailer Survey will report insight and trends from furniture retailers across the country.
The survey, released Wednesday, is the first of what will be quarterly reports that will serve as a benchmark for furniture retailers to measure their business. HFA Executive Vice President Mark Schumacher said the survey is the latest benefit the Association is offering members to grow their business.
“This report is something our members have been asking for — a way to truly benchmark their business,” Schumacher said. “We think it’s going to be a valuable tool for them to measure how they’re doing and where they stand.”
The inaugural report reveals strong optimism among many of the retailers surveyed. Furniture retail sales were down 8 percent for the second quarter from the same period last year but showed strong improvement in May and June, a two-month trend many retailers expect to maintain throughout the third quarter, according to the survey.
Furniture retailers responding to the survey expect sales growth in the third quarter to increase by an average of 15 percent over the same quarter in 2019. Other findings from the survey:
- Growing sales after forced closures. In the throes of the state-mandated pandemic shutdowns, April sales declined by 50 percent from the same month in 2019. May sales rebounded with a 15 percent increase year over year. With almost every furniture store back open in June, sales took off and were 30 percent to 40 percent higher compared to 2019. Piper Sandler research analyst Peter Keith attributed the spike to a pent-up demand by consumers for investing in their homes, with discretionary spending aided by federal stimulus checks.
- Strong online sales. E-commerce sales grew 210 percent and 180 percent on a mean and median basis. Retailers surveyed said online sales represented 10 percent and 11 percent of total sales in the second quarter. That trend has not subsided since retailers reopened most of their brick-and-mortar stores, suggesting online sales will remain elevated throughout the third quarter.
- July 4th boom. Sales growth was up 16 percent and 13 percent over 2019 on a mean and median basis for the holiday weekend.
- Delivery time. The current length of time for delivery to home following a consumer purchase is 11 days and five days on a mean/median basis.
Retailers from across the country took part in the anonymous survey. Keith and Schumacher said the number of respondents will grow over the coming year as more retailers want to be a part. Insights from the complete survey can be found at the HFA’s website.