In 2020, people spent more time at home than they had spent in any other period in recent history. Spending so much time at home made people more aware of their household furnishings and more eager to transform them so that they fit their vision of where they wanted to live and work. With remote and hybrid models of work likely to be an important part of our lives for the foreseeable future, people will continue to invest in their households at higher levels than in past years. One area where people have invested heavily is in furniture. According to a new report, in 2020, spending on furniture and appliances rose from $373 billion to $405 billion year-over-year. The shift to working from home and shopping online drove growth in ecommerce, and one of the fastest growing segments in ecommerce was the vintage and consignment market. Vintage furniture became and has remained the most important design trend of our times.
Chairish, the vintage furniture ecommerce platform, enjoyed a 60% growth in sales. 1stDibs, an ecommerce company that sells luxury items such as furniture, earned a 23% increase in its revenue. Kaiyo, a platform for buying and selling used furniture, has experienced triple-digit growth, month-over-month.
An obvious answer is that second-hand furniture is affordable, and in a time of economic distress, people would shift their purchases towards cheaper alternatives to goods that they need. However, collectible and heritage items performed strongly during that period too. For instance, 1stDIbs sold out its stock of Ray and Chalres Eames’ Lounge Chair, the Ultrafragola mirror and Mario Bellini’s Camaleonda Sofa. Users of the Chairish platform have turned a profit on items such as Michel Ducaroy’s Toga sofa. According to its annual report, Kaiyo sold the DDC On the Rocks sofa at a staggering $18,346 price. This really shows the strength of the collectibles and heritage segment.
Experts predict that the vintage and second hand furniture market will be even stronger in the coming years. According to Statista, the furniture resale market will grow 3.5 times faster than traditional retail, by 2025, appreciating by 54% between 2021 and 2025.
An important reason for the growth in the sector is the change in attitudes toward secondhand goods. This change in attitude has come at a time when platforms such as Depop, TheRealReal, and ands, have allowed millenials and Gen Z shoppers to buy used clothes. The change in attitudes extended to furniture. According to Chairish, 31% of millenials and Gen Z shoppers had a greater demand for second hand, vintage or antique furniture over the last year.
ANother factor is that mass-produced goods have started to lose their sheen. People feel increasingly disconnected from modern consumerist society and vintage furniture arouses more nostalgic emotions, and feels less embedded in consumerism. Modern designs often seem to go out of style as quickly as they get into style, whereas vintage furniture has a more enduring appeal. Younger consumers are looking for goods that express their individuality, rather than embed them in mass-consumerism, and this makes vintage furniture, and classic designs such as leather recliners Made in USA, so appealing.