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Dana French

Survey reveals major differences in where generational groups shop for furniture

Stylish products, affordable products and functional products are the main reasons consumers like to shop lifestyle furniture stores, including the likes of Ikea, Pottery Barn, West Elm and Crate & Barrel.
     And do consumers answering Furniture/Today and New York-based Apartment Therapy's exclusive survey ever like to shop there. An incredible 100% of both Generation X and Y frequently shop lifestyle furniture stores. This channel comes in at number one for older consumers answering the survey, too. Nearly seven out of ten Baby Boomers regularly shop the lifestyle channel.
     Ikea is the most popular lifestyle store. Specifically, 44% of Generation Y, currently between the ages of 18 and 36, say they regularly shop Ikea, as do 36% of Generation X consumers, currently between 37 and 47.
     Exactly half of Baby Boomers commonly shop traditional furniture stores. The same is true for only 23% of Gen Y respondents and one-third of Generation X. For this report, the traditional channel includes furniture stores such as Haverty's, Rooms To Go and locally-owned stores, as well as manufacturer-branded stores, such as Ashley and Ethan Allen.
     Shoppers appreciate the quality product and wide selection offered at traditional stores. Being locally owned and offering top-notch customer service are plusses for many. Specific reasons why include:
■ The selection is fantastic."
■ "I like solid wood, quality pieces."
■ "The store's customer service and free delivery are great."
■ "I like to support local, small businesses."
     Let's not forget the Internet, a strong channel across all age groups. Online furniture sites are regularly checked out by 39% of Generation Y, 36% of Gen X and 27% of Boomers. Consumers think shopping online is "easy" and it's "a great resource with a wide range of choices." Furthermore, 15% of Boomers are comfortable buying a sofa without sitting on it first. That stat is even higher for younger buyers: 24% of Gen X and 18% of Gen Y are fine with buying upholstery without testing it out.

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