When lockdown hit in March 2020, home furnishing businesses, like many other retail categories, had to shift to online trade only. This sparked a boom in online demand for the Home and Garden sector.
Before the pandemic, the Garden sector was one to experience growth during the spring and summer months, while the Home sector has always been more sensitive to wider economic pressures.
This blog summarises the online demand experienced in 2020 for Home and Garden related goods. We reference the merchant input from the IMRG Merchant H&G retail roundtable in May 2021 and data from the IMRG Capgemini latest Online Retail Index.
According to an IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, the Home and Garden sector experienced the strongest online YoY growth in 13 years, with online sales growth for Home products in the UK at +74.4% and homeware and decorations up by +108%.
When the first lockdowns hit, both the Home and the Garden sectors benefited from high growth due to the combo lockdown and nice weather.
Data from the IMRG Home & Garden Sector Report 2021 shows that limitations on local and international travel, along with the encouragement to work from home inspired consumers to focus on their home space.
With canceled holidays and nowhere to go, consumers saved more money, which they invested into garden furniture, home decorations, indoor furniture and so on. As a result, the Year-on-Year (YoY) growth in the Home sector peaked at around 150% in 2020 - 2021, then a major spike for Garden after the Governments’ announcement of a road map out of lockdown in February 2020.
In 2020, UK households purchased approximately £14.4 billion worth of furniture and furnishings, an increase in the previous year of roughly £1.5 billion.
IKEA UK saw a 322 % increase in small desk demand in June 2020 and a 136% increase for its Markus office chair as a result of the rapid increase in home working. Overall, online sales amounted to 27% of its total sales in the UK, compared to 19% in the previous year.
According to the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, 22% of customer journeys start at the retailers' home page, but 17% of these then bounce. This is the result of many home pages not focusing exclusively on products.
Retailers should offer effective and relevant content on the home page, and merchants on Google Shopping should provide relevant and detailed content on landing pages, as these represent an essential step of a consumer's shopping journey.
We run a quick check on Google Trends to further understand the search interest for 'Home furnishing' and 'Garden furnishing', and we found that web searches for these keywords and related terms such as 'Sofa', 'Garden table set', 'Garden chairs', spiked between May and September 2020.
The increase in searches on Google confirms the need for advertisers on Google Shopping to optimise their Product Feed, ensure that data within each Product Feed matches with the information provided on the product landing page in order to decrease bounce rates and increase the likelihood of purchase. Advertisers can achieve this with product feed optimisation strategies, which include adding product titles and descriptions, images and other relevant attributes that give consumers the confidence to buy.
You can read about product feed optimisation and how your Shopping ads can benefit from it here
Shopping for Home and Garden can be difficult especially when shopping for products that need to be comfortable such as sofas or beds. For this reason, it's extremely important that brands and advertisers provide as many details as possible to describe each product. Advertisers must prioritise high-quality product imagery, the first thing a shopper will notice when searching for this type of product on Google Shopping.
Read about Google Shopping images dos and don'ts here.
Our product feed optimisation service is specifically created to help merchants optimise their product feeds entirely. Book a free demo or instantly audit your product feed here to see the issues and areas of improvement within your product feed.