HOME OFFICE. An opportunity in challenging times
The rapid development of the home office furniture segment is among the opportunities for manufacturers generated in these challenging times of pandemic. However, the evolution experienced over the last decade underlines an important contradiction: despite the number of people working from home (whether regularly or occasionally) has been increasing year by year at a world level, the office furniture manufacturers progressively reduced the creation of specific office furniture products for teleworkers.
This longlasting process has been conditioned by two main reasons: teleworkers working regularly at home often dispose of a dedicated studio (separate room) and they simply use standard office furniture. Teleworkers who do not dispose of a separate room (the largest part) adapt themselves with few pieces of office furniture and, quite important, they reserve a very reduced budget to the purchase of working tools.
Today, sales of home office furniture are, for the large majority, in the hand of large scale multichannel distributors (es. IKEA) and e-commerce companies (e-tailers like Amazon). The products sold in this business are mainly low budget imported items (mostly chairs but also monitor arms, lamps, and other tools) or pieces of furniture produced by European RTA furniture manufacturers.
The pandemic burst is expected to produce a reassessing of the distribution policies by office furniture players and also a partial rethinking of the portfolio.
Changes in habits for workers and teleworking expanding and remaining as a stable working mode will lead to more tough competition. In fact, as customers will tend to invest more in their “home office furniture and work tools”, the number of actors willing to play in this business will multiply from different categories like traditional manufacturers of office furniture, manufacturers of home furniture and upholstery (sometimes operating with their own/franchised retail networks), office chairs manufacturers and importers and RTA furniture manufacturers (operating in the low budget segment).
‘Home Office Furniture in Europe’, a brand new report by CSIL (September 2020), analyses the home office furniture market in Europe, basic data, evolution and sales by country, forecasts, demand, drivers, distribution channels, and competitive systems.
The report also includes the results of the survey ‘Working from Home’ on a sample of over 600 end-users from different ages and jobs: home working organization and expectations, furniture used, level of satisfaction, purchasing intentions, purchasing channel, and average budgets.