An exceptional response
Without question, the COVID 19 crises clearly accelerated the movement to online shopping at a much faster clip than most forecasters expected. Moreover, internally at Luxo Living, we have had to make significant adjustments to cope with greater online demand, especially ensuring stock is available and logistics are in place to meet customer delivery expectations. Consequently, we were absolutely delighted and highly appreciative of the 9,330 customers that took the time to complete our 2020 Australian Home Furniture Survey.
The depth of respondents’ views provide Luxo Living with invaluable input on how to map strategic forward planning and integral first-hand insight into the following areas:
- What we are doing right and what we need to change to keep doing things right.
- Health check on changing customer needs and how to keep the product offering vibrant.
- Excellent information on demographics and catering to our key market segments.
- Verification the movement to online shopping is structural and set to continue expanding.
Demographics - a balanced story
Across the 9,330 respondents, one of the most encouraging outcomes was age diversity was not skewed to any particular segment; rather, it was reasonably balanced across the 25-65+ age brackets. This was a pleasant surprise as we now know our product range appeals to a much wider customer base than we initially envisaged.
While we have respondents right across Australia, including from WA and Tasmania, about 52.5% live in state capitals, with 47.5% from rural areas. This is an interesting result as it shows the extent of Luxo Living’s reach is much further than expected. Unsurprisingly, given our hub in Sydney, about 60.5% of respondents live in the most populous states – New South Wales and Victoria.
Most respondents, representing 73%, live in houses with three or four bedrooms. This suggests that a significant proportion of our customers are probably families which aligns with our strategy to offer a broad product range, with appeal to several market segments.
Frequency of online furniture shopping
When asked how often they purchase furniture, about 40% of respondents said within 3-12 months, while 33% indicated every few years. Unsurprisingly, over 95% of respondents indicated they purchased products for use in their own home, while 80% stated moving to a new house was the primary catalyst for upgrading furniture. About 70% of respondents purchased furniture primarily for bedrooms and living areas, with dining, study and outdoor areas capturing 17% collectively.
Looking at recent furniture transactions, over 50% of respondents said replacing out-dated style and old broken furniture drove the decision, followed by moving home. This is an important statistic as it re-affirms the importance of ensuring the latest style furniture offerings globally are available and that customers take note of prevailing trends.
Furniture product research
Surprisingly, about 40% of respondents stated they search a range of websites weekly for home styling tips. More significantly, some 74% of respondents indicated they prefer furniture specific websites over other channels – such as printed catalogues or marketplaces like Amazon – when researching product purchases. This is significant and highlights the importance of maintaining an attractive online product offering continuously.
Factors driving furniture purchases
By a substantial margin, respondents cited “comfort, style, price and quality” as the primary reasons they consider when purchasing home furniture. In terms of specific style, modern and contemporary categories were by far the most popular followed by Hamptons then Scandinavian. Interestingly, with a considerable lead over fabric and leather, around 70% respondents would like to see more products featuring timber over the next 12-months.
While a significant number of respondents have thought about custom building their own furniture and sourced products from offshore, the majority would rather use an Australian supplier.
Online shopping trends
Around 61% of respondents spend between 1-7 hours per week online shopping, with the majority between 1-3 hours. Across all respondents, 59% confirmed they have purchased furniture online previously. Most respondents verified they had purchased furniture from well-known marketplace sites like Temple & Webster, Kogan, Gumtree and ebay. Of the specialist online furniture stores, some 19% of respondents confirmed they have purchased products from Luxo Living, followed by MyDeal, Zanui and Matt Blatt.
Pop quiz questions: Yes or No
Using Yes / No questions typically provides some interesting insights. When posed with the following scenario, the answer was surprising:
If you had two options for the purchase of a mattress online, which would you most likely choose?
A] Pay $1,099 for a top of the range mattress with a 100-day risk-free trial period; or
B] Pay $699 for the exact same mattress but no risk-free trial period.
Nearly 62% opted for B, highlighting that pricing, even bearing the risk of buyers’ remorse was a more powerful determinant in making a purchasing decision then having a 100 day trail period.
Highlighting changing consumer trends, 64% of respondents said they would purchase furniture online even without a showroom to inspect products. This is reflective of the structural changes underway with online shopping increasingly becoming more main-stream, which has clearly been given a boost by the COVID 19 lockdowns.
Luxo Living: Brand reach extending
At the time of doing the survey, some 73% of respondents had heard of Luxo Living in the previous two years which is a tremendous result for a niche, primarily online, specialist furniture boutique. This means that our strategic marketing promotion efforts are reaching the desired target market segments and beyond.
However, only 17% of respondents confirmed they have purchased furniture products – the majority online – from Luxo Living. Implicitly, this means there are considerably more opportunities to widen the product offering to capture a higher number of customers, especially with heightened brand awareness reflective from 9,330 survey respondents.
Reflecting on their overall purchasing experience, Luxo Living scored an exceptional average of 8.7 / 10 from respondents. Notably, 60% of respondents gave Luxo Living a score of 9 to 10 which is a fantastic result, given the intense competition prevalent in the online furniture sector.
Drilling down into specific areas, some 60% of respondents confirmed “value for money” was the primary reason they were satisfied with their purchase from Luxo Living, with 12% stating “product quality.” This is a very important statistic to factor into strategic marketing as it is a key deciding factor across all the key market segments.
Key points of difference
When comparing Luxo Living’s product quality with peers, just over 40% of respondents rated them the same. However, in a standout result, 54% of respondents rated the product quality higher than that on offer by competitors, which delivers a significant point of difference and beneficial advantages.
When asked what products they would like to see more of on Luxo Living’s website, respondents ranked the following as their key preferences:
- Greater than 30%: Sofas, rugs, outdoor furniture and storage furniture (e.g. wardrobes, tallboys, buffets)
- From 20-30%: Coffee tables, cushions and covers, bed linen, dining tables, beds & bedside tables.
- From 10-20%: Kitchenware, home office furniture, entertainment units, kids furniture, appliances and pet furniture.
This provides significant insight in the range of products that customers are interested in seeing more of moving forward. Clearly, showing larger ranges of products that customers want is a win-win outcome for everyone. Interestingly, when asked what Luxo Living could improve, the leading categories by a wide margin were product range and delivery costs.
Concerns with online shopping
When asked to rank their major concerns when buying furniture online, the standout reason was not being able to physically see and touch the product. This was well ahead of the next three categories which comprise high delivery costs, not receiving the advertised product or finding the product is damaged. These are issues online retailers must be aware of and do what is necessary to allay fears to capture customer confidence. Acting proactively to manage these issues is a critical success factor to ensure a sustainable competitive advantage can be consistently achieved.
Offer better prices and more
Unsurprisingly, the one factor the majority of respondents sited that online retailers could do better on was ‘offer better prices’ and have ‘more physical stores in different locations.’ However, the real insight from this survey question, given the relative spread of responses, is that customers want a bundled offering with excellence the benchmark across the entire online shopping experience.
The final verdict
Securing 9,330 responses for the 2020 Australian Home Furniture Survey is an outstanding result. Simply put it means the interpretations and insights are extremely useful in re-shaping how Luxo Living continues to support its customers’ needs moving forward. More importantly, we can use this information in a focused manner to broaden the online product offering and be more strategic with pricing to deliver value for money outcomes.
To all our current and prospective customers thank you for responding to the 2020 Australian Home Furniture Survey.