The furniture industry & how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected it
Although the world is beginning to step towards where we were before, unfortunately, the pandemic is still at the forefront of daily news and is affecting us all. At RB12, we understand that Covid-19 is still a huge issue that isn’t going away fast, so we wanted to take a look and delve into how the pandemic is affecting the furniture industry.
As people have felt the need to spend more and more time at home, it has never been more important to be comfortable and feel good within your own home. With covid-19 there have been many challenges. Production has been slowed at times due to illness and absenteeism; and there have been shortages in materials such as timber and fabrics, which has impacted delivery times for customers.
Many suppliers of quality furniture source their materials from all over the world, be it fabric, timber or foam. This left them vulnerable to supply delays or even cancellations when the pandemic led to widespread lockdowns. Even as factories re-opened, staff numbers were severed as employers battled the continuing effects of Covid, such as social distancing rules and employee illness.
Ironically at the same time, demand has never been higher. As government guidance (and common sense) dictated that we spend more time at our homes, this birthed a necessity to invest in suitable work stations (desks, lamps and office chairs) and improve our existing living areas – making them comfier and more stylish in order to make the ‘new normal’ more bearable. This brought an economic boost to the furniture industry but put huge strain on a depleted workforce and supply chain.
Shopping has changed significantly. The tradition of visiting your nearest furniture studio or retailer and spending an afternoon sitting on every sofa, has been replaced with scrolling online to find the best deal across a huge selection of suppliers (resulting in a 12% increase in first time online buyers). This has made the furniture market much more competitive in terms of price and service, and has emphasised the growing importance of having a strong online presence and investment in digital solutions and automation.
The pandemic has brought our society together in a way none of us have witnessed before, and with that brings an unprecedented and shared desire to do what we can for each other and the world at large. This, coupled with the indefinite time-frame of the stay-at-home guidance, has made the average consumer more eco-conscious in their purchase decisions. If a piece of furniture is going to be in use every day, it is important that it stands the test of time. This means high-quality and responsibly-sourced materials are at the forefront of the buyer’s mind. In essence the trend has swerved to people investing in top quality products rather than second-rate, cheaper options that tend to break, get thrown away and add to the planets waste and over-consumption issue.
RB12 want to reassure you that we’re always working, adapting, and investing in new processes to address disruptions, keep our employees and customers safe and of course to deliver superior furniture that will stand the test of time in both design and quality. We have wonderful working relationships with all our suppliers, so will be able to find out the most accurate and current information about your furniture.
If you would like to find out more about RB12 and our approach throughout the pandemic, contact us here, pop by the showroom or give us a call on +44 (0) 2071 352 246 – we are on the other side ready to answer any of your questions.