Current figures 2021

News on consumer behaviour when buying furniture

How is consumer buying behaviour developing in Germany before and during the Corona crisis? The first answers to this question are provided by the statistical yearbook "Möbel Zahlen Daten 2021", published by Ferdinand Holzmann Verlag. In three parts, we take a closer look at the studies and statistics on the German furniture industry presented in it, this time focusing on consumer behaviour.

Apr 09 2021

Buying furniture is at the top of the wish list in times of Corona. This was the result of a consumer survey in May 2020, according to which almost 80 percent of the respondents planned to buy new furniture. The majority (61 percent) could even imagine foregoing holidays and instead renewing furniture and furnishings.

This would mainly happen in the living room (39 percent), bedroom (32 percent) and kitchen (29 percent). The garden and leisure areas followed with 28 and decoration and textiles with 21 percent.  

Majority plan smaller expenditures 

When asked how much consumers are willing to spend, however, it became apparent that rather smaller expenditures are planned. 73 percent of the respondents intended to spend a maximum of 1,000 euros on new furniture, ten percent said they would spend 1,000 to 1,500 euros and 17 percent more than 1,500 euros. (Source: Offerista Group for "möbel kultur") 

Overall, consumers in Germany spent around 34.5 billion euros on furniture and furnishings in 2020, according to an estimate by the online platform Statista from October. Kitchen furniture is the most popular, accounting for 26 percent of sales, followed by upholstered furniture at 22 percent and furniture for the bedroom (13 percent) and living room (11 percent). The total turnover of the furniture industry is expected to have increased slightly compared to the previous year, despite the pandemic. 

Visitors to the imm cologne 2020 at the Molteni stand. © imm cologne

Consumer mood before and during the crisis 

Looking at consumers' propensity to buy in 2018 and 2019, the picture is one of high consumer sentiment. The indicator of the GfK Institute for Market Research showed +56 points in June 2018, putting Germany at the top of the ranking of European countries. One year later, the propensity to buy was still at +53.7 points.  

In the year of the Corona crisis, there were major ups and downs in Germany: in February 2020, the propensity to buy was still extremely good at +53.6 points. It reached an absolute low in April 2020, when many consumers were afraid of a recession and the propensity to buy was -4.6 points. The situation recovered significantly in the summer with +19.4 points in June, +42.5 points in July and +43.7 points in September.

Due to the temporary reduction in VAT, many private purchases, including furniture, were brought forward to 2020. During the second shutdown at the end of the year, the GfK indicator was still at +36.6 points and thus 16 points below the previous year's value.  

The development before the pandemic was completely different: private household spending on furniture, interior design and carpets developed from 40.09 billion euros to 44.03 billion euros in the period from 2015 to 2019, an increase of 5.9 percent. In a European comparison, the shares of private household expenditure on furniture and interior decoration were highest in Germany and Austria in 2019, at 2.6 per cent each. The average in the European Union was 1.9 percent.  

High growth in online purchasing 

As with all consumer goods, consumers in Germany are increasingly choosing to buy furnishings online. Online sales in the areas of furniture, lamps, decoration, house and home textiles as well as household goods and household appliances amounted to 10.92 billion euros in 2019, which corresponds to a growth of 13.5 percent compared to the previous year.  

For 2020, no complete figures were available when the yearbook was finalised, but according to the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland), there was a 13.8 per cent increase in the furniture, lamps and decoration product categories in Q2 2020.

A current study predicts that the stationary furniture trade could permanently lose a market share of 10 percent by 2024 in the worst case. (Source: IFH / BBE). According to the study, the winners for the favour of consumers include the largest retail companies as well as online retail. The pandemic is seen as accelerating such trends.

Today, kitchen planning is also increasingly done conveniently via online tool. © AMK

Ikea is perceived as the strongest brand 

A recent study by the market research institute Splendid Research found Ikea to be the strongest furniture brand among furniture stores in Germany (score 67.1 out of 100). Dänisches Bettenlager and Roller follow in second and third place.

The study investigated which brands in the furniture industry are best known by consumers, what image they have and how high the purchase probability is. Ikea was perceived by consumers above all as a unique brand that continues to develop and has the best price-performance ratio. 

Figures from the largest market players only represent part of the reality. German and European quality and brand manufacturers, for example, developed flexible strategies in response to the Corona crisis. Their products are not to be found at the large greenfield retailers or in online shops that focus on fast-moving goods. Yet they are holding their own in the crisis. But that is another chapter. 

Author: Heike Edelmann 

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