Nesting in the age of Corona

The term nesting has traditionally been associated with pregnancy. It’s when a woman has the energy and overwhelming desire to clean and organize the home in preparation for the arrival of a new baby. In recent history, the term nesting has evolved to include more than the anticipation of a newborn.

The events of 9/11/2001 turned everyone’s world upside down. It created anxiety and fear. In response, families retreated to a safe sanctuary… their homes. Following 9/11, many retailers experienced a downturn in business. Conversely, the furniture chain that I was working with at the time was experiencing strong sales. Why? I attributed it to nesting. People were focused on their homes… their safe place… and they wanted to make their homes to be more comfortable.

I’m seeing that again with the Coronavirus pandemic. As businesses and government offices were forced to close, people sought the safety and security of home. They began to nest. They sought ways to make their homes a little nicer and more comfortable. Did you try and get into a Home Depot or Lowes?

How is nesting impacting the furniture industry in the age of Corona? At the onset of the pandemic in March, Furniture Today noted a 200% increase in online furniture browsing. The shift to working from home created a 242% increase in demand for home office furniture. There was also a 260% increase in demand for outdoor furniture – people want to be comfortable in their “nests.”

Online furniture retailer Wayfair is reporting huge increases in sales since the onset of the pandemic. Imagine Retailer (an e-commerce software provider for the home furnishings industry) notes a 127% increase in online sales amongst its 400-family owned furniture stores. Yes… people are nesting and, more and more, they’re using e-commerce to do it. The big takeaway is that people are buying furniture in the midst of a pandemic!

As long as the coronavirus threat lingers, people will gravitate towards the safety of their homes… and the need to make them more comfortable. Furniture retailers need to be ready to help them “nest.” Whether that’s through implementing or expanding their e-commerce capabilities or by clearly communicating what’s being done to make the in-store shopping experience safe.

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