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What trends offer opportunities or pose threats on the European home decoration and home textiles market?

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Millennials are quickly becoming the dominant consumer group in Europe. As such, they strongly influence today’s popular brands and their strategies in the market. Valuing sustainability, millennials generally require brands to actively participate in making the world a better place through social and environmental responsibility. The following trends are heavily influenced by this new mentality, or a reaction to it, especially from the baby boomer generation. They have been reinforced and enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This overview illustrates how drivers of global themes influence consumer trends. The resulting market trends show the effect on the demand for home decoration and home textile (HDHT) products.

DRIVER

MEGATREND

CONSUMER TREND

MARKET TREND

Social

Rapid urbanisation

Shared living

  • Convenience, multipurpose
  • Differentiation, eclecticism, personal taste and style

Social, environmental, demographical

Wellness

In search of mental and physical wellbeing

  • Themes: spa and yoga, garden and balcony, celebration, master chef, sleeping, decorating, and decluttering
  • Natural materials and styles

Environmental and social

Sustainability

Less wasteful consumption, more fairness

  • Reuse, recycling and upcycling
  • Equality in production and trade
  • Respect for culture

Social and

demographical

Millennial style

Trend-followers and rebels

  • Mid-market or alternative

Environmental, social, economic

Sustainability and the circular economy

Contributing to a better world

  • New, more circular and fair business models

Social

Playfulness

Consumers looking for an opportunity to play, to imagine, escape, explore, create and connect

  • Playful styles and playful interaction

Social and political

Home sweet home

Disconnection, cocooning

  • Nostalgic, luxury marketing

The trends listed in this study can be grouped together under the following seven global and consumer themes and trends: Shared Living, Wellness, Sustainability, New Circular Business Models, Millennial Style, Playfulness and Home Sweet Home.

In addition to these trends, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the HDHT market. Uncertainty and limited budgets cause consumers to postpone non-essential purchases, while at the same time, increased time spent at home stimulates their desire to invest in the decoration (and functionality) of both their indoor and outdoor living spaces. Although the exact longer-term effects on the market are hard to predict, what is clear is that the pandemic is both confirming and accelerating existing trends in HDHT. This is discussed further per trend below.

Tips:

1. Shared living

Rapid urbanisation and rising housing prices are driving consumers into new forms of communal living, often with multiple generations living together in the same dwelling. Homes are being adapted or designed to hold communal and private spaces, each decorated differently. This creates new directions in the development and consumption of products for the home.

Furniture and accessories for communal living spaces will need to be more flexible, and product values related to convenience and multipurpose will become more important. Such values are mostly found in the middle and lower ends of the market.

However, in their private quarters, consumers find it especially important to distinguish themselves in terms of style and the choice of accessories. This adds importance to values related to differentiation, eclecticism, personal taste and style. These are essentially values related to the mid-high to premium ends of the market.

Forecast

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people spend more time at home in sometimes relatively cramped spaces, especially during lockdown. This requires clever and flexible solutions to maximise the use of space, particularly in communal living situations.

Figure 1: Umage – Flexible, flat-pack furniture

Source: Umage @ YouTube

Consumers are also increasingly working from home, which further adds to the required multifunctionality of their living space. As many intend to continue remote working after the pandemic, this signals that interest in product groups that offer flexibility could potentially be a longer-lasting trend. In the Netherlands for example, 43% of the working population has recently invested in HDHT products for their home office, and up to 44% of remote workers intend to make further upgrades.

In the long term, this trend will grow in significance as urbanisation grows and hybrid working becomes the norm. Because of this, urban consumers, globally, will be looking for suitable solutions.

Example company:
Vivere is an Indonesian furniture company and lifestyle brand focused on contemporary designs, using clean lines with a modern touch. They offer various products that fit in with the trend of shared living and flexibility, including side tables, poufs, stools and modular sofas, as well as adjustable home office furniture. Vivere’s hiCraft Rattan collection showcases Indonesia’s well-known renewable material, combining modern manufacturing and design techniques with the weaving skills of local Indonesian craftspeople.

Opportunities

This trend offers opportunities for products/product groups that:

  • can be used around the house, such as occasional furniture
  • are lightweight, collapsible, flat pack and can be easily stored
  • are multipurpose, such as cookware that also presents well on the table
  • consist of items with components that can be rearranged according to use or taste, or several style options to cater to individual preferences

Because shared living creates demand for both volume (communal spaces) and value offers (private quarters), there are opportunities across the market, ranging from low- to high-end segments.

Threats

Products with values related to convenience and functionality are often in price-sensitive segments, so you can expect price pressure and high-volume requirements.

Tips:

  • Control your costs and improve productivity to be competitive in the communal decoration segment, or develop high-level design for private quarters. Focus on one of these only, as these two positionings require quite different marketing mixes.
  • Study good practices from players such as IKEA and Habitat, which offer integrated collections based on functional design for large segments of the lower-middle and middle markets. For the higher-end markets, look at distributors with an identity-driven assortment, such as Pols Potten (home decoration), Iittala (tableware) and Le Jacquard Français (home textiles).
  • Use (online) sources such as home magazines and industry portals, trade fairs and our HDHT market intelligence to stay informed about this trend and how it will develop in different parts of the world. Financial consulting firms and institutions like the World Bank often publish megatrend analyses, including how they influence work and living, making for good sources of information on market projections. For example, GeniusWorks has compiled an overview of Megatrends for 2020-2030.

2. Wellness

The search for health and happiness has become an important focus for millennials, Gen Z and baby boomers, alike. Many millennials live under stress from peer pressure on social media and the difficulty of finding an urban home. Older generations worry about job security, retirement and loneliness. The climate crisis is now a major concern for both generations.

The consumer response to the wellness trend is two-fold. Firstly, there is a need to develop the mind: to be more connected to ‘the self’ and one’s fellow-human beings, and to learn new skills and increase one’s knowledge. Secondly, there is a need to care for the body: to lead a more active lifestyle and a less stressful and a more sustainable lifestyle.

This translates into several vital market trends in HDHT products, based on the following themes:

  • spa – creating a spa experience at home (for example with bathroom accessories)        
  • yoga – focusing on spirituality (for example with yoga kits)
  • sleep – sleeping better (for example with bedding and bedroom accessories)
  • garden – feeling closer to nature and relaxing outdoors in an active or passive way
  • master chef – cooking and dining together to practise new cooking skills and connect with each other
  • celebration – participating in private and public celebrations (such as birthdays or Christmas)
  • decorating or decluttering – creating empty spaces in the home to create mental space as well (for example with storage products); or surrounding yourself with things you don’t ‘need’ but love (such as decorative accessories), which is part of the Home Sweet Home trend
  • cultural products and stories – being open to new stories to increase your knowledge and experiences, thus appreciating products reminiscent of their origin (for example with a clear link to a particular material culture) – this form of ‘mental travel’ extends to actual travel, and thus to travel accessories

Figure 2: URBANARA – Ethically produced bed textiles made of natural materials

Source: URBANARA @ YouTube

Forecast

Increasing urbanisation, increasing internet coverage and ageing western populations are underlying drivers of the wellness trend that will continue to grow in force. Interestingly, wellness is an essential element of any brand's strategy for 73% of consumers. As the COVID-19 crisis has made consumers more acutely aware of the importance of both their mental and physical wellness, this trend is accelerated further in the short term.

In a 2021 Young Living survey, 48% of respondents stated that they were making wellness and self-care a top priority. 53% have developed new wellness habits during the pandemic, including at-home spa experiences, and 36% intend to maintain these new habits post-pandemic.

Example company:
Turkish manufacturer Lalay offers a variety of handloomed home textiles, including peshtemal (hammam) towels and bathrobes. Lalay is a women-led social responsibility project, producing items based on Anatolian culture and craftsmanship. Their peshtemals and bathrobes come in 100% cotton and in cotton blends with bamboo or linen, with (optional) handknotted fringes. The range includes various handprinted fabrics, which are also used to create throws and cushion covers in the same style.

Opportunities

This trend offers opportunities for products-/product groups that:

  • are related to the various aspects of wellness, such as garden furniture, spa and yoga items (soap, hammam towels), easy chairs, luxury bed textiles and travel-related products
  • incorporate natural raw materials or natural colours
  • are related to leisure, hobby, sports, toys and games
  • appeal to the new ‘young old’ consumer, as the relatively wealthy older generation is fitter than ever
  • represent more affordable concepts, in addition to those for the previously targeted premium consumer

Threats

  • As western society is rapidly adopting spa and yoga practices and turning them into lifestyle choices, competition for traditionally leading Asian manufacturers increases. European manufacturers are already taking the lead in new, tech-based solutions for monitoring and improving mental and physical health.
  • The wellness category is growing in significance, segmenting rapidly into volume (lower-end) and value (higher-end) segments, which may eventually put pressure on prices.

Tips:

  • Explore natural and sustainable materials, to combine two main trends. Be aware that ‘natural’ does not automatically mean the material is renewable, non-polluting or socially responsible.
  • Add a touch of your own culture to the leisure and wellness items you want to offer, to differentiate in a market that is increasingly competitive.
  • Study good practices, such as The Body Shop combining body care and ethical trading, Turkish spa brand Hamam offering a natural, almost spiritual look in textiles, and the home fragrances of Italian brand Fiorirà un giardino.
  • Offer complete wellness sets, including textile and hardware options. Retailers in particular will appreciate such a complete, one-stop shopping opportunity in wellness.
  • Add a gifting element to your wellness assortment.
  • For more information, see our webinar on wellness in HDHT.

3. Sustainability: social and environmental responsibility

Rather than consuming less, people want to consume better. Many millennials are committed to creating a better world, and baby boomers increasingly want to contribute. This creates a sense of urgency and consumer power that will reshape the HDHT industry. Solutions are expected first and foremost from consumers and the industry in response to this call for action. As people are becoming more aware of the long-term impact of their consumption, they are trying to produce less waste and pay more attention to fairness and ethics.

Companies are held accountable for the way they deal with both the environment and their workers. Replacing plastic with (renewable!) natural materials is a common way to make products more sustainable, in some cases stimulated by the European ban on single-use plastics. European consumers increasingly demand that makers have equal opportunities, receive a meaningful income for their work, and work under decent conditions. Child labour is definitely unacceptable.

Concepts related to recycling and upcycling are very welcome in the market. Experimenting with alternative materials is a huge trend, especially for home textiles. This goes into three directions. Leftovers from agriculture are used, for example, to make yarns made from orange or pineapple peels. Consumer and industrial waste is turned into new raw materials or end products, such as furniture from ocean plastics or denim waste. Finally, bioengineering helps reduce the use of polluting or scarce resources, for instance by creating dyes from bacteria.

Figure 3: IKEA – Handwoven rug made of leftover fabric

Source: Ikea @YouTube

With globalisation comes a greater mix of cultural expressions in HDHT. Consumers are opening up to colours and patterns that are ‘foreign’, and designers are, often unknowingly, using patterns from material cultures other than their own. At the same time, there is an intense discussion about to what degree this ‘borrowing’ from another culture is appropriate.

Forecast

Already representing over half the working population, millennials are the dominant force in the market for the coming decades. Their sense of urgency and activism, and their belief that they can influence things positively through their purchasing behaviour, mean that this trend will solidify and find a more central place at the heart of the HDHT industry.

The European Green Deal will further stimulate this development, as the European Union strives to become climate neutral by 2050. The European Union is also working on a new ‘due diligence’ system that requires companies to identify, address and fix any (potential) infringements of human rights, harmful impacts on the environment and ensure sustainable corporate governance throughout their value chain. These new due diligence rules could apply to any company that wishes to gain access to the European internal market, meaning that sustainability will have to be taken into consideration.

Example company:
Maroma is a Fair-Trade Guaranteed manufacturer of a range of wellness-related items, including home fragrances, soap and candles. Most of their employees are women. The company mainly uses recyclable and preferably locally sourced (renewable) natural materials for their products and packaging. Maroma is based in Auroville (India), a community “dedicated to human unity and the advancement of society in a fair and non-sectarian fashion”. Their principles of being Earth Friendly, Vegan, Natural, Toxin Free and Cruelty Free further reflect their sustainable values.

According to the World Economic Forum, 86% of people want significant changes to be made in order to make the world fairer and more sustainable after COVID-19. Interestingly, most consumers (particularly the younger generations) seem to think that the COVID-19 crisis has made it more important that both consumers and companies improve their sustainability. Most of the people who started making more environmentally-friendly choices at the beginning of the pandemic have reported they are still doing so a year on.

This increasing importance of sustainability is reflected in Issue 1 of the Maison et Objet Barometer, in which 62% of HDHT retailers stated that they have noticed growing interest among their customers in ethical products. They indicated that 92% of their customers think natural materials are (very) important, 77% value socially responsible production methods, and 71% care about recyclable/recycled materials.

Figure 4: Popularity of ethical products among customers of HDHT retailers

Popularity of ethical products among customers of HDHT retailers

Source: Maison et Objet barometer – Issue 1

Opportunities

  • Recycling and upcycling materials from consumption and production in your country provide you with a major opportunity. Waste or offcut materials from industry are often readily available and relatively inexpensive, and the market is ready to embrace such concepts.
  • As the market for recycled products grows, it also becomes more segmented. This means you can create concepts for the lower-end volume market, focus on a mid-market, or go high end. Price and value differ for each segment.
  • The story of your value chain is of great interest to the consumer. Not just to make sure that the materials are genuinely recycled, but mostly because it is fun to know that an item used to be part of a billboard, office furniture, or second-hand clothing, for example. Good storytelling is therefore of key importance.
  • Adopting fair trade or other forms of social and/or environmental certification can add value and credibility to your concept. Even without certification, traceability of raw materials adds value.
  • Positive gender values can differentiate you in the market.
  • Using your cultural heritage to introduce new patterns and colours to the buyer and consumer makes your products unique. You can mix these designs with elements of western or global culture.

Threats

  • As western society is equally concerned about its own waste, western designers are also creating concepts based on recycling and upcycling. This means that design expectations for such products are already quite high, and that competition increasingly comes from European designers too.
  • Professional buyers and Western consumers are adopting a ‘don’t tell me, show me’ attitude, demanding verification of any claims you make in relation to social and environmental sustainability. Make sure you communicate well and honestly, and consider certification where available.
  • In the long term, the European trend of buying local (‘Made in Europe’) to reduce environmental impact may become a threat to you.
  • Sustainable products do not automatically warrant a price premium in the market, as consumers consider saving the planet a primary responsibility of the industry. Design value is what positively influences price.

Tips:

  • Actively promote your products’ environmental and social sustainability. This will help you stand out from your competitors. Use your website, social media and trade fair participation to tell your sustainability story.
  • Turn trash into cash by taking advantage of low-cost waste materials for recycling and upcycling. Negotiate well with your suppliers, for example clothing manufacturers or advertising companies, and explain the cost-benefit of you taking their garbage (free of charge). Set up an effective supply chain to collect and process the materials. Any cost saved here, will multiply in your price to the end consumer.
  • Be bold and counter your cultural traditions if they do not favour equal opportunity for all. The consumer will reward you.
  • Study good practices of innovators in sustainability like It’s About RoMi and their sustainable brand Good & Mojo (lighting), Green Pan (cookware) and Mifuko (fair trade lifestyle products). For inspiration and examples of innovative new materials, see heimtextil’s Future Materials Library.
  • For more information, see our special study on sustainability and our webinar on the sustainable transition in apparel and home textiles. Also see our study on the requirements your HDHT products must meet in order to participate in in well-known sustainability initiatives and comply with certification schemes.

4. New circular business models

The trend of sustainability is a key driver of the emergence of new circular business models that focus on extending the lifecycle of HDHT products.

A typical product lifecycle consists of:

  • material sourcing and selection
  • production
  • transport
  • consumer use
  • end-of-life

True circularity is aimed at regenerating the materials at the end of their useful life into a new material and process. Especially for SMEs in developing countries which usually have a small span of control over the process, full circularity is generally not (or not yet) feasible, but there is much innovation in the HDHT industry aimed at achieving this. As discussed, recycling, upcycling and experimenting with alternative materials are popular ways to move towards circularity.

Another related method for achieving circularity is through retail concepts such as sharing, leasing and buy-backs. These business models strive to minimise the impact of the products on the environment by keeping them in use for as long as possible. These methods have the additional benefits of providing flexibility and making products more easily available to consumers with smaller budgets.

This combination makes these concepts particularly popular among millennials, who are environmentally conscious and value sharing over owning. Younger generations also generally have less disposable income than baby boomers. The flexibility these concepts offer is ideal for younger consumers as well. It enables  them to more easily adapt to events in their lives such as moving house (often to a rented dwelling) and starting a family, or to follow the latest influencer-inspired trends in home decor.

An example of a company that is steadily rolling out such new business models is IKEA, which strives to make its product range 100% circular by 2030. It focuses on products that can be repaired and reused again and again, before eventually being recycled or re-manufactured. Besides offering spare parts and releasing disassembly instructions for various products, IKEA has launched buy-back (and reselling) programmes in several countries. The company has also been piloting leasing/rental concepts among students and businesses customers.

Figure 5: IKEA - Why the future of furniture is circular

Source: IKEA @ YouTube

In addition to large retail chains like Ikea and John Lewis experimenting with circular business models, companies are emerging which apply these concepts as part of their core strategy. For example, Selency is an online marketplace for used vintage, Scandinavian and designer home furnishings. Similarly, Harth allows its users to buy, sell and rent new, pre-loved and vintage design. Yourse focuses on making designer furniture available to a wider public via leasing, with the option to buy. Fat Llama is a peer-to-peer rental platform that also offers home and garden products.

Forecast

With the growing importance of sustainability, particularly for millennials, the popularity of these circular business models is set to increase. In a 2019 study among customers of Germany’s Connox, 48% indicated they might rent furniture in the future. 98% of respondents had never done so before, for which the most common reason was that people simply had not thought of it yet. This is in line with a 2018 study for the European Commission, which argues that increasing consumer awareness of second-hand, renting/leasing and repair markets enhances engagement in the circular economy.

As circular concepts are becoming more and more common, including among large and well-known retailers, consumer awareness is growing. Also in view of the importance of sustainability for millennial consumers, these concepts are bound to flourish in the coming years.

Opportunities

  • Using pre-/post-consumer and post-industrial waste can help reduce material cost.
  • Circular business models can open up new markets catering primarily to the new millennial and Gen Z consumer groups.
  • Adding sustainable values to your identity allows you to set your company apart from the competition and widen your appeal in the market.     
  • Teaming up with distributors to create buy-back/re-selling and refurbishment programmes facilitates longer-term buyer loyalty. 
  • Recycled and vintage materials allow you to achieve luxury brand positioning based on a ‘limited edition’ concept.

Threats

  • Recycled materials may run out, making it necessary to phase out certain product lines even if they are in high demand.
  • Using recycled materials may create new worries about the precise material content and the relevant legal requirements.
  • Big Business is usually more vertical and as such has more control over all/more aspects of the lifecycle, from supply to consumption. This may mean SMEs will consistently fall short of expectations.
  • Concepts such as refurbishment and reselling may decrease the need for new production.

Tips:

  • If you are interested in innovating in sustainable materials, you should either invest in developing a new material yourself (in collaboration with others), outsource to specialised material designers or developers, or purchase a sustainable material that is already available. Important questions are: Is developing new materials part of your core business? Do you have a strong R&D department already? Do you allocate resources to R&D it in a structural way? Does your market demand continuous innovation in the area of materials?
  • To facilitate a long product lifecycle, you should take circular business models into account when designing your products. For example, designs should allow for easy replacement of parts that are prone to wear and tear, and materials should be durable (and preferably recyclable). Occony’s new circular Peak chair, which is made of recyclable waste materials, is an interest example of this. All parts and materials can be separated, allowing for reuse, refurbishment and recycling of the chair.
  • For inspiration and more information on how to design products suitable for new business models, see Ikea’s circular product design guide, for example

5. Millennial style

As the soon-to-be dominant consumer group, millennials are increasingly influencing many aspects of social and professional life. Marketing has become millennial territory, shaped by social media influencers. This generation brings in new values, such as ‘sharing over possessing’. They see their home as the extension of their identity, or at least the personality they want to be. While some conform to the norm and follow trends, a large group of millennials rebels against it and values individuality.

This leads to two opposing forms of expression, representing countertrends. The millennial consumers that follow trends make safe choices in their purchases of interior products, in line with dominant, accepted styles. In this, they reflect an existing value set in HDHT: that of the mid(-mid) market.

Figure 6: Habitat – Stylish yet affordable tableware

Source: Habitat @ YouTube

The less conventional millennials prefer expressive styles in their interior decoration. Segments associated with this group are more niche, more personalised and, where possible and affordable, linked to value sets related to sustainability and social equality, including diversity. These consumers want their brands to stand for something. This places them in the higher ends of the (mid-)market.

Forecast

Millennials are on their way to becoming the dominant consumers and professional buyers in HDHT, using social media both for projection and marketing communication. This means that the ‘millennial style’ will grow global soon and it will be there to stay for years to come. The current pandemic has increased the importance of sustainability for millennials and Gen Z more so than for older generations, indicating this aspect of millennial style is set to become even more relevant.

Opportunities

Like the trend, opportunities exist in two areas:

  • The need to follow trends feeds the mid-market, which has been under pressure due to its inability to offer differentiation. Being a trend-following mid-market consumer has now actually become desirable again for many consumers.
  • In contrast, the more rebellious direction is expressive, individual, colourful and invites an own take on what is beautiful and stylish, also from the maker. This works in favour of those who already design from a strong sense of individual identity rather than from trends.

Threats

Threats also depend on which direction of this trend you cater to:

  • Trendy products are often found in price-sensitive segments, in the heart of the middle market. You can expect price pressure and volume requirements in these segments.
  • Since the expressive consumer carefully selects what fits in their belongings and what does not, and is quite eclectic in combining items, the volume of business in this latter segment can be limited.

Tips:

  • Follow trends in colour, as colour in both styles is quite vital and differential. The conformists are driven by periodical changes in colour as pushed by the industry, trend forecasters and influencers. Home magazines and trade fairs are usually good sources of information. The non-conformists are more eclectic and original with their colour palettes, which may be hard to predict. To appeal to them, you should follow your own intuition, culture and impulses — be like them!
  • Be present online, follow millennial influencers and sell online.
  • Study good practices of the mid-market brands that cater to the conformist millennial, such as British department store M&S, Dutch brand VT Wonen and the German glassware brand Leonardo. Alternative brands catering to rebellious millennials are typically smaller, more design-oriented and online. Examples of these are Belgium’s When Objects Work, designer brand PO! Paris, and the basketry of Best Before (France).
  • For more information on market segmentation, see our study on European market channels and segments for HDHT products.

6. Playfulness

Playing is essential to being human. People play to have fun and fulfil our need for optimism, escape and invention. In HDHT, concepts inviting consumers to play are everywhere. Play stimulates social connection, reducing loneliness and isolation. It is a powerful form of escapism, distracting consumers from worries about polarised politics, the environment, trade wars, cybercrime, technological displacement and more. Millions of consumers are therefore embracing new opportunities and concepts to imagine, escape, explore, create and connect.

Bold and defiant products with a touch of humour express this trend. Forms, patterns and colour palettes can edge towards surrealism, or just be decorative. They can also resemble toys for young children, transformed into pieces that appeal to adults too.

Figure 7: Alessi – Flexible seats with a fun design

Source: Alessi @ YouTube

Concepts based on modularity, mixing and matching, constructing and building (as in children’s toys) invite the consumer to co-create. This trend has been around for a while, but is now everywhere.

Forecast

The combination of play being an essential human need and the current crises in our world makes this a trend that is here to stay. As many people continue to worry about the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, they need distraction now perhaps more than ever.

Opportunities

  • This trend invites the use of bold colour, odd shapes, humour, functional products that are figurative, anthropomorphic (human-like) designs, light-heartedness and ironic uses of ethnic traditions. These can be applied in a wide variety of product groups.
  • This trend also encourages consumers to practise playful interaction and co-creation, through flexible and customisable concepts.

Threats

  • Humour and light-heartedness are not in everybody’s ‘design DNA’ and can become forced or come across as unauthentic when the style is adopted just because it is a trend.
  • What is considered funny is personal and/or cultural, so your humour may not match with that of your target market.

Tips:

  • Give your own cultural patterns a twist to create the desired effect of playfulness.
  • Be original and creative to be convincing, for example by using bold colours, odd shapes or humour.
  • Imagine you are a child yourself when designing for this trend.
  • Study good practices of brands with a playful style, such as Seletti (home accessories), Alessi (kitchenware) and Jonathan Adler (lifestyle collection).

7. Home sweet home

In times of global insecurity, consumers react with a deep appreciation of the comfort and safety of their own home. European consumers are trying to make the home a place where genuine connection takes place with family and friends. They eat and cook together, enjoy entertainment and play, in a return of the ‘cocooning’ trend.

This trend particularly reflects an older consumer, a baby boomer with a relatively high disposable income. Styles related to this trend are luxurious and refer to bygone periods such as art deco and neoclassical. Popular materials are comfortable, heavy textiles, dark wood and lots of metal. Patterns are bold but colours are cosy and warm, including darker, saturated reds and purples, sophisticated blues and browns.

Figure 8: John Lewis – Retro revival

Source: John Lewis @ YouTube

However, Home Sweet Home is also about people (across generations) enjoying each other’s company, entertaining each other, cooking and dining, or just relaxing. In this context, the trend relates to items that create a cosy atmosphere in the home, as well as cookware and dinnerware that facilitates ‘slow dining’.

Forecast

This is a more niche trend, mainly represented by a segment of the baby boomer consumer. Globalisation and social media will make it harder and harder for escapism to survive. Cocooning, however, will last longer, as it is based on deep human needs for connection.

As a consequence of the pandemic, people have been spending more time socialising as a family/household and cooking. For many, this is expected to be a permanent change. 65% of the people who stated that they started cooking more at the beginning of the pandemic, are still doing so a year on. This development is particularly prominent in younger generations, as baby boomers probably already spent more time on these activities before the implementation of lockdowns. Because of this, the ‘home sweet home’ trend may increase its appeal to younger consumers, and with that its staying power.

Opportunities

  • This trend represents a premium segment, which may reflect in good margins.
  • The style is not trendy, and colours, once you get them right, will not change every season.
  • The distribution into this segment is often by respectable family businesses, whose marketing reflects their values, such as loyalty, honesty, and fairness in dealing.
  • Interior decorators carrying this style are found in all major HDHT trade fairs in Europe.

Threats

  • Margins may be good, but considering this is a niche segment, volumes may be relatively small and turnarounds low.
  • Quality is key and materials are luxurious, heavy and rich. This level of value is essential to succeed in this market.

Tips:

  • Practise other styles as well, as this segment may not be sufficient for your cashflow. Alternatively, become a specialist and dominate the segment.
  • Study good practices of brands such as Belgium’s Chehoma, whose products are charming and create ambiance for the well-to-do consumer; Italy’s Dialma Brown (nostalgic interiors); Dutch brand Eichholtz, which targets nostalgic baby boomers; and the United Kingdom’s RV Astley’s lighting (inspired by art deco).
  • Study the history of interior design, as this trend is firmly based on classical and historical styles. Use home magazines focusing on the baby boomer luxury segment, such as Architectural Digest, Coveted and Wonen Landelijke Stijl.
  • Check the websites of the Maison & Objet and Ambiente trade fairs to find potential distributors which focus on this trend.

This study has been carried out on behalf of CBI by Globally Cool B.V. in collaboration with GO! GoodOpportunity and Remco Kemper.

Please review our market information disclaimer.

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It’s been one step forward and one step backwards for ecological issues during the pandemic. In the beginning, attention shifted from concern about the wellbeing of the planet to concern about protecting oneself – mentally, physically and economically. But the COVID-19 virus also taught us empathy and a new appreciation of nature.

David Shah, Publisher & Editor, View Publications