New Key Note Market Report: Home Furnishings Plumped Up by Cushion of Improving Housing Market

According to a recent Key Note Market Update, the market for Home Furnishings in the UK experienced subdued value growth of 1% in 2014, despite having fallen by over 2% altogether between 2010 and 2014. Split into five sectors — window dressings; bedding; bathroom and kitchen textiles; cushions and covers; and table linen — the market has experienced fluctuating demand between 2010 and 2015, as economic difficulties and changing fashion trends have resulted in increased pressures on the market, further compounding the negative impact of an uncertain housing market.

Household occupancy levels have shrunk in recent years, which is likely to correlate with restricted property sizes and reduced demand for home furnishings. In addition to this, a large number of millennials — those born between the 1980s and 2000s and typically of an age at which they might be look to make house purchases — are being forced to live at home with their parents, due to price rises in the housing market and spiralling rent costs. Although property transactions are increasing, thus indicating more consumers are likely seeking fresh bedding, towels, window dressings and cushion ideas for their new homes, growth in the furnishings market has not yet substantially benefitted from this.

With housebuilding initiatives and schemes being introduced by the Government to help more people onto the property ladder, the fortunes of the home furnishings market are likely to improve in the future, particularly if companies can make use of developing technologies to better their products and the way they market them. Innovations such as digital printing offer cost efficiencies to manufacturers, while the Internet provides excellent opportunities to retailers. Many consumers like to try out products in the marketplace before purchasing, to ensure they match a desired colour size and style; with technology rapidly developing, even consumers who do not like to visit bricks-and-mortar stores will be able to use augmented reality and three-dimensional (3D) imaging to see how products would look in their home before buying them.

The almost ubiquitous use of some items within the marketplace and the wide reach of products across the retail landscape have seen fashion retailers selling curtains and bed sheets, and DIY stores marketing blinds and kitchen textiles. If these retailers and home textiles specialists are able to ride the wave of Internet shopping, and attempts by the Government to boost the housing market are successful, there may yet be hope for the fortunes of the home furnishings market.