2023 is expected to be a year of contrasts as consumers seek exuberance following the Covid-19 pandemic, while also being cautious due to the cost-of-living crisis. Despite the crisis, the homewares market has shown resilience and is anticipated to grow in the coming years.
In April 2022, sales in the furniture and home furnishings sector reached a 20-year high of over $12.1bn, and the furniture e-commerce industry is projected to grow from $29bn in 2022 to $41bn by 2030, a growth rate of 41%.
Consumers are changing their spending habits to reduce costs, such as switching to cheaper retailers and buying more value or promotional products. They are also adopting a selective and intentional spending mindset, buying in moderation.
While the homeware spending spree that occurred during the pandemic is not expected to be replicated, it provides valuable insights and opportunities to watch.
Wellness is a priority
In 2023, consumers are prioritizing their homes as a wellness-infused sanctuary amidst a cost-of-living crisis. Many are retreating to their homes to cut down on spending, with purchases for the home being the top priority for Americans as costs rise. Ikea’s Life at Home 2022 report highlights that consumers globally view their homes as a source of mental well-being and relaxation.
As a result, the sleep economy is expected to be worth $585bn by 2024, as consumers prioritize products that aid in a good night's sleep. Bathrooms are also becoming the heart of the home for wellness, with a focus on elevated shower routines that create a ‘mini spa’ for everyday life. Brands have an opportunity to enter the sleep management and bathroom design industries by offering solutions that require few lifestyle changes and assist in sensorial, emotional, and transportive experiences.
Layers of Meaning
In today's poly-crisis era, comforting spaces and products are essential for maintaining balance. Comforting design is no longer just about physical comfort but has evolved into a multifaceted experience that maximises emotional and physical well-being.
With 72.8% of people globally feeling anxious about the cost-of-living crisis, coupled with cultural, political and environmental instability, consumers are craving deeper comfort. In 2023, the focus will shift to an amplified, all-encompassing comfort with additional layers of meaning.
As energy prices continue to rise, people are seeking alternative ways to feel physically comfortable without relying on technology.
Comfort must take in the entire sensorial experience, including a space's visual, auditory, and olfactory elements. For example, a home could be filled with soft textures and comfortable seating, but it could also incorporate soothing music and a calming scent to create a fully immersive experience.
Consumers are expected to have a long-term perspective on their lifestyles and spend more time at home due to the cost-of-living crisis. The pandemic allowed consumers to reconsider their living spaces, with a focus on flexible, multifunctional spaces and better organisation, and a move away from open-plan living.
To create a balance in multifunctional spaces, consumers are looking for products that can help them organise their homes and declutter.
The KonMari method of tidying up and decluttering gained popularity during the pandemic and is expected to continue to be a trend in 2023. Consumers are also seeking products that can help them make the most of their limited living spaces, such as storage solutions and furniture that can be easily transformed or hidden when not in use.
Sustainability and eco-consciousness will also continue to be driving factors in consumer choices for home products.
A report by Accenture found that 60% of consumers globally are reducing their use of plastic and 57% are buying more environmentally friendly products. Consumers are increasingly seeking products made from natural and renewable materials, as well as those that are produced sustainably and ethically.
It’s a cliché but – Bring the Outdoors in
Outdoor spaces are becoming more sophisticated and are increasingly being used year-round. In the US, home buyers are still prioritizing outdoor spaces with dedicated areas for lounging, dining, and entertaining, and listings mentioning pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens can sell for 2.3% and 2.2% more, respectively.
Design aesthetics from inside the home are now being extended to the outdoor space, and products and collections are emerging to make outdoor bathrooms more accessible. Goodland, a Canadian brand, offers a wood-burning hot tub that can be positioned in various spaces without the need for professional set-up, electrical or plumbing installation, saving users on costs.
Furthermore, cosy textiles are becoming increasingly important for indoor comforts outside, and innovations make weatherproof materials feel less synthetic and more tactile. According to retail searches, "outdoor curtains" are also a popular product of interest.