eTailer Report: Online furniture retailers continue to make inroads

Occasional tables, entertainment, youth top furniture purchases

HIGH POINT - Online retail sales, excluding travel, event tickets and digital downloads, totaled $132.4 billion in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. And a recent estimate from comScore pegs the furniture category at about 3.5% of all e-commerce retail sales. That means online furniture sales totaled approximately $4.6 billion last year, or about 6% of total consumer spending for furniture and bedding.

The online channel is not immune to the recession, though. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, online retail spending in the first quarter of 2009 was $31.7 billion, down 5.4% from $33.5 billion in the first quarter of 2008. eMarketer recently forecasted online spending to rebound in 2010 and hit a projected $163.9 billion by the end of 2011.

There's no doubt that the face of retailing in the United States has changed dramatically. While there were about 1.1 million brick-and-mortar stores operating at the beginning of 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 148,000 of them closed during the year.

That was on top of the 135,000 retail stores that closed during 2007. And the International Council of Shopping Centers projects another 150,000 stores will close in the United States this year. This reality has presented online retailers with opportunities to grab consumers wanting to buy. And they've done just that. The 20 online-only home furnishings retailers highlighted in this report alone sold about $1 billion worth of furniture during 2008.

Online-only furniture giants include Boston-based CSN Stores and Omaha, Neb.-based Netshops. These retailers both operate more than 200 niche storefronts, each focusing on a product category. While many product categories have more than one storefront, behind each is a corporate support system that fulfills all marketing and customer service functions.  For the complete article, click here.


See our list of 20 top online-only home furnishings retailers

HIGH POINT - Furniture/Today's exclusive report lists 20 online-only home furnishings retailers in alphabetical order.

This list is by no means comprehensive. Many more than the 20 Internet retailers listed here are strong players within the home furnishings industry and Internet channel.

This report does not rank companies, nor does it feature furniture retailers who have both a brick-and-mortar and online presence, such as Rooms To Go, Wal-Mart and JC Penney.

All sales figures and ranges are Furniture/Today market research estimates and are for total 2008 sales, which may include revenues from the sale of products other than furniture, bedding and decorative accessories.

Where possible, the percentage of sales from furniture, bedding and decorative accessories is given. All sales figures are for the calendar year 2008.

Furniture/Today compiled this report by surveying online furniture retailers, researching newspaper archives and speaking with industry insiders. Information was gathered, compiled and analyzed by Group Research Manager Dana French and Research Specialist Daphne Garland-McLean, with assistance from Database Coordinator Cynthia Myers. To see the entire list, click here.

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