THE INDEPENDENT EDGE
Today’s Furniture Shopper Profile
As furniture retailers across the country gather their bearings and set their sights on a return to normal, one of the most common questions they share is also one of the most vital: Who are my shoppers?
Retailers seeking to benefit from a resurgence of consumer activity need to first understand who their shopping audience is in order to reach them effectively in advertising efforts. Poorly calibrated marketing simply translates to missed opportunities and wasted resources.
To help answer this question, Esquire Advertising used its iDent Technology platform to observe furniture stores and more than 1.4 million shoppers across ten of the largest metro areas in the United States. Selecting a time frame of January to June 2021, Esquire paired these consumers with a few of its data categories to provide a general profile of the average American furniture shopper.
When compiling the individual consumer data of furniture shoppers across key major metros, it reveals a picture of the typical consumer over the past six months.
Determining the income level of target shoppers can be a highly valuable data set for both marketing purposes and in choosing product offerings. Featuring less expensive products can attract more consumers — including those in higher earning categories — but promoting higher-cost items can price out a large portion of audiences.
Of course, by not featuring high-cost items, retailers will be left out of a very lucrative market. The best approach is to narrow down all audiences into groups and then target each with specialized options and deals they feel they can comfortably afford.
When looking at the data of 10 major metros, the median annual household income level of the typical furniture shopper falls within the range of $50,000 to $75,000. According to an April report from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, this range falls slightly below the median income for all American households at $79,000.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that this median income level is a national average. Retailers will need to consider their independent locations to further tailor their marketing efforts to best attract consumers in their areas. For example, when drilling down further, the most commonly observed household income of furniture shoppers in some major metros falls lower to a range at $50,000 or below.
Metros with lower overall household incomes include Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.; New Orleans; and Pittsburgh. Whereas cities like Dallas and Houston/Fort Worth; Los Angeles; and Tampa Bay, Fla., featured more furniture shoppers with higher income ranges.
The age ranges of targeted consumers are also key for fine-tuning marketing outreach. Different age groups have their own unique tastes and needs, average income levels, differences in living situations and more.
On the broad scale, older shoppers are more likely to have higher levels of disposable income. They are less likely to move as frequently and may invest in higher-cost items for the long term. Additionally, they are more likely to prefer the in-person experience of shopping at a brick-and-mortar store to get the look and touch of a product before buying, whereas younger demographics have far less concerns with shopping online.
The median age range of the typical in-market furniture shopper remains consistent across all 10 of the major metros observed, showing key consumers to be between 50 to 54 years old, followed by shoppers aged 45 to 49 and then 55 to 59.
Beyond the age of 59, there is a gradual declining trend of in-store furniture shoppers until seniors over the age of 70 begin to reappear at impressive rates. As many retailers would expect, shoppers between 18 to 24 represent the lowest range of in-store shoppers.
Female / Male
For a variety of social and cultural reasons, a consumer’s status as male or female may carry over to influence many day-to-day spending habits, as well as choices for long term investment pieces.
When it comes to furniture, savvy retailers may choose to showcase items differently to these categories depending on relative popularity of products, specific design features or functions. For example, a sofa specifically designed to be attractive to either category can be paired with promotions for Father’s or Mother’s Day sales. Retailers should also be mindful of unique lifestyle trends that may correspond to these categories, such as overall living situations and general social habits.
While the margins are fairly slim, the average shoppers observed visiting brick-and-mortar furniture stores in the past six months are women. However, some metro areas have trending differences, with women making up the vast majority of groups in New Orleans, Nashville and the New York metro, while Los Angeles, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh/Cleveland are more evenly distributed.
In addition, the majority of both male and female shoppers across all metros are unmarried.
Going by specific metros, some areas of observed shoppers averaged unmarried rates higher than of 60%, particularly in cities like Los Angeles and the Washington/Baltimore area.
While still consisting of a majority, metros like Nashville/Memphis and Pittsburgh/Cleveland had the least number of unmarried shoppers, with the highest clusters exceeding 50%.
Dwelling Type / Living Situation
The dwelling type of in-market shoppers is an important detail to consider for businesses looking to attract re-emerging consumers. Throughout the past year, the data trends have consistently shown large numbers of Americans moving across the nation for a variety of reasons, and new movers are one of the most critical audiences for furniture retailers to reach.
Further understanding how these new arrivals will be living out their lives, and the types of homes they will be living in, can give retailers highly valuable information regarding the products, deals and styles they should be offering to these targeted audiences.
Furniture stores located near clusters of apartment buildings would naturally want to offer in-market shoppers at these dwellings items that are convenient for singles in smaller or shared living spaces. Meanwhile, stores targeting shoppers in sub-urban areas may want to build marketing campaigns around items that are fit for homes with families, dogs and outdoor spaces.
For the average furniture shopper, single-family homes are king, especially in metros like Nashville/Memphis, Indianapolis and New Orleans. Naturally, there are more shoppers observed living in multi-family housing for condensed metros such as New York and Los Angeles. Yet across the board, single-family dwellings represent the overwhelming majority of the typical profile. With a large exodus of former city-dwellers leaving for less populated areas throughout the past year, retailers in these areas can factor in dwelling categories for powerful marketing effects.
- The past year has brought about countless changes in the furniture retailing space. The board has been shuffled, and many consumer trends have been drastically altered depending on the location and a wide assortment of other factors.
- Retailers seeking to reap the rewards of a stabilizing and increasingly optimistic market need to first understand who their local in-market shoppers are to make the best of their unique opportunities.
- After assessing the profiles of their key audiences, retailers should further define these audiences across a range of targeting categories to layer data sets and create the most effective advertising campaigns that resonate with targeted groups.
- The profiles of in-market furniture shoppers depend greatly upon many factors, however the combined average of ten major metro areas reveals the typical shopper to be an unmarried woman, 50 to 54 years old, with an annual income of $50K to $75K, and living in a single-family style home.