HIGH POINT – Reflecting on 2022, more than half of retailers said sales were up over 2021, which was considered to be a banner year buoyed by pandemic-fueled shopping. But expectations for how this year will turn out are less optimistic, with just 37% expecting another year of sales growth.
Nearly one-third of respondents to Furniture Today’s sister brand Home Accents Today’s survey expect 2023 to produce lower sales than the previous year, and nearly as many see them as flat. In last year’s survey, more than half – 53% – predicted sales would stay the same this year.
One action the majority of retailers – 59% – took in 2022 was to raise prices. The survey found 44% boosted tags by 6% to 10%, and one-quarter hiked them between 11% and 15%. For 2023, 2 % of respondents have already raised prices or plan to do so, while the same percentage are putting off an increase, leaving about half – 48% – as undecided.
Among those who did opt for higher pricing, all of them said they did so to pass along increases that came from their vendors. Nearly three-fourths – 71% – also cited inflation as a leading cause, while factors such as warehouse costs and supply chain played a much smaller role.
A couple of elements that could influence sales into the future are the growing popularity of sustainable and handmade goods. Products with a sustainability story were deemed very or somewhat important to their customers by 41% of those surveyed, prompting nearly one-fifth of retailers to say they seek out such items at markets.
Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of respondents said they already carry handmade or artisan products in their stores. A little more than one-third, 35%, devote between 5% and 10% of their inventory to artisan goods, while an evenly divided 24% said these items account for 11% to 20% or 21% to 30% of total inventory.
The above data is based on a Home Accents Today’s online survey of home accent, home, gift and interior designer-run retail stores and full-line furniture retailer readers of Home Accents Today and Furniture Today, fielded in June and July 2023. The research was conducted and analyzed by Strategic Insights. Based on the sample size, the survey results are considered qualitative rather than quantitative.