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Consumers turning to online platforms for furnishing needs

By WANG ZHUOQIONG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-27 09:37

Consumers walk through the self-service section at an Ikea outlet in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Yuwen/For China Daily]

The extended shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic encouraged Chinese consumers to rethink their home environment, boosting online home furniture and furnishing shopping, a survey said.

The survey by Yicai News, Alibaba and Ikea China found about 40 percent of consumers in China listed their living room and bedroom as a priority for home renovation projects, followed by the kitchen, study room and bathroom.

The ideas of how furniture and furnishing products look like, an intelligent home experience as well as environmental concepts, played a major role for young consumers in choosing home furnishing and decorating products, the survey said.

The survey collected data from questionnaires sent to Tmall and Ikea users between Feb 7 and Feb 13, and those from Yicai Business Data center and Alibaba in the last three years.

China's home furnishing and decoration industry has seen steady growth at a rate of 7 percent annually the past few years. The highlights were in online shopping due to its wide selection and convenience.

Leading furniture and furnishing makers such as Danish furniture and accessory brand Hay and Spanish retailer Zara Home have launched their flagship stores on Tmall.

Ikea, which set up its own website and developed a mobile app, opened its online flagship store on Tmall this month. The move helps Ikea reach younger Chinese consumers.

The survey showed the majority of online shoppers for home decorations and furnishing products are in their late 20s and early 30s. They spend heavily on personal hobbies and interests.

"This generation of young people are unique. They are internet savvy and trend lovers," said Freda Zhang, commercial vice-president of Ikea China.

For example, half of a carpet designed in collaboration by Virgil Abloh and Ikea were bought by customers in that age group.

"They care about social responsibility, environmental protection and the sustainability of their home furniture and furnishing products," Zhang said.

How to reduce waste and save energy and live a healthy life is what inspire young people in their selections of home furniture and furnishing products, the report said. Young consumers are more sensitive in the look and style of their furniture, along with their function, quality and price.

The survey found seven out of 10 young consumers are on board with the holistic scientific and technological home experience facilitated by intelligent home furniture and accessories.

With the increasing number of young people who take up multiple jobs, the needs to work at home are on the rise.

The report found that young people with pets are hoping to build a more fun-loving coexisting space for their loved ones, creating strong demand for playing toys for cats.

Some 75 percent of young consumers consider it necessary to bring home playing facilities for their children. This trend boosted the sales of gaming products, trampolines and slides.

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