Sheltering In Leads To Home Improvement


Aimee Stone Munsell

April 10, 2020 | 3 min read

To provide understanding during this uncertain time, we are monitoring the impact of coronavirus on online consumer behaviors. See the latest data on our Covid-19 eCommerce Impact data hub.

After weeks of working from home, working out from home, socializing from home, and doing just about everything from home, data shows that consumers everywhere are in the mood for a little home improvement. With a +22.8% increase in the volume of visits to home decor/DIY stores last week (compared to the previous week), it seems that many have come to the realization that working from your bed is not all it’s cracked up to be.

In fact, consumers have increased the time they spend browsing furniture and home furnishings by +46.8% since the start of the outbreak — the largest surge in browsing time observed across all retail sectors. And looking at the number of transactions, these home makeovers are not just virtual. Transactions on furniture and DIY sites in the UK and US were up +52.3% last week from the previous week, contributing to a +101.4 increase in home purchases since the start of the crisis.

So what exactly are consumers itching to change around the house?

How Towels And Linens Became The New Necessary

The volume of products browsed in the linens / bath linens category shot up +96% last week compared to the previous week, with transactions in this category almost doubling over the same period (+96%). It could be that staring at their bed every day is the push many need to finally get rid of that old duvet cover, or it may be less of an aesthetic decision and more of a practical one.

While 85% of people in America may own a washing machine, legions of renters in major cities like New York don’t, relying instead on laundromats — considered “essential businesses” in many areas of the country. But with millions of people trying as much as possible to avoid trips outside the home, and the CDC recommending you don’t share personal household items when caring for someone who is sick, it makes sense that consumers are looking to increase their supply of sheets and towels.

Home Is Where The Office Is

If you’ve ever subscribed to a furniture store or large retailer email list, your inbox is probably inundated right now with invectives to smarten up your home office. Home office inspiration landing pages and promotions on office furniture have been proliferating the past couple of weeks, and a quick scan of the data shows that consumers are indeed looking to upgrade their work stations.

Visits to pages featuring desks, lighting and tables were up significantly this week from last — in that order (see table above). Those three categories also accounted for the greatest increases in the volume of purchases, with a +95% increase in table sales, +92% in lamp sales and +87% for desks.

Spring Has Sprung

For those lucky enough to have a garden or yard to sit or play in to offset cabin fever, it’s hard to not notice that, even during a global pandemic, plants will bloom in April. Pages featuring garden items and outdoor furniture got +33% more attention this week than last, and the volume of transactions on these items was also up +33%. And with supply chain issues becoming a regular occurrence on grocery stores around the world, victory gardens are making a comeback.

Other product categories that are seeing more traffic and purchases include kids’ room decor — +16% increase in volume of products browsed and +44% more purchases this week compared to last. And purchases of sofas and armchairs have also recorded somewhat of a surge, with a +66% increase in purchases from the previous week.

The growing interest in home furnishings and decor is very much in line with the generalized surge in eCommerce traffic and transactions recorded in the past couple of weeks. Total traffic across sectors was up +3.2% last week from the previous week (+10.3% since the start of the crisis) and transactions were up +18% (+32.6% since the start of the crisis). As consumers navigate a new reality without access to brick-and-mortar shopping, their reliance on digital is now almost entire, and for many brands websites are adjusting to becoming the only store. And with the overall conversion rate up +82.6% since the beginning of the outbreak, the home decor sector seems to be carving out its place as one of the necessary digital businesses.

Join our webinar next week, From Convenience to Necessity: How the Coronavirus Is Impacting the Grocery Sector, featuring our Chief Strategy Officer Jean-Marc Bellaiche, this insight-packed webinar will share our latest findings on customer behavior and how the grocery industry is adapting to the new reality April 16th at 1 pm.