• Powell Slaughter

TD Bank Oct. market retailer survey looks ahead

HIGH POINT – New technology is a priority for many furniture retailers in the year to come, according to a High Point Market survey of retailers conducted by consumer financial services resource TD Bank.

The company queried 100 retailer executives at the recent show about their expectations for 2018, and 65% said they intend to incorporate new technology into their business model in the next year. Thirty-three percent said they’ll invest in new or updated websites, while 21.5% indicated they’ll explore virtual showrooms.

Other new technologies retailers will implement include augmented reality (13.3%), 3D printing (6.7%), a new or updated mobile app (6.7%) and chatbots for e-commerce (2.2%).

The survey also showed that 98% of respondents believe that furniture sales will increase or remain steady in 2018.

Furniture retailers identified several risks as the biggest threats to the industry. Those included technology disruption (35.3% of respondents), inventory restraints (25.6%) and decreased consumer demand (25.6%).

Other threats mentioned included rising employee wage requirements (7%), rising interest rates (6.4%) and regulation (4.5%).

The technology and threat questions on the survey allowed multiple selections, so the percentages were based on 135 and 156 total responses, respectively.

Respondents cited that 60% of their customers are purchasing furniture for an existing home, rather than a new (28%) or vacation home (4%).

In addition, with the upcoming holiday season, 25% of retailers are ordering additional inventory to meet the increase in demand, while 41% say they’ll make no changes. Twelve percent said they’ll hire extra seasonal staff, and the same percentage indicated they’ll extend store hours during the holidays.

Powell SlaughterPowell Slaughter | Senior Editor

I'm Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. While I cover occasional, home entertainment and home office here, a major responsibility is expanding our attention to the logistics side of the industry. I hope my articles will encourage a dialogue with retailers, vendors, third-party logistics specialists and carriers. I’d love to hear your ideas, concerns and suggestions for smoother flow of material and goods.

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