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SECTOR FOCUS Homewares see online boom thanks to lockdown – and how growth will continue

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One of the standout sectors in 2020 and into 2021 has been the rise of online sales of homewares worldwide – and the RetailX Homeware Sector report is a must read this summer.

According to RetailX, the global homewares market was valued at $39.77bn in 2020 and is projected to grow by around 3% across 2021 to hit $41.1bn. Expanding at a CAGR of around 6% from 2021 to 2025, it is set to hit a total of nearly $100bn 

The Covid-19 pandemic initially caused a crash in homeware sales as stores went into lockdown. Renewed interest in homewares spurred by the need to create home offices and improved living environments saw a pick-up in sales across the end of 2020 

This growth brought the industry back to slightly below to where it was pre-pandemic, which saved the sector for a black hole. The bounce-back is set to continue in 2021, with growth increasing 

Much of this growth will take place online. Traffic levels for our retail sample all increased dramatically in 2020. This switch to digital is likely to continue post-pandemic 

The big winners have been those retailers that managed to rapidly switch to omnichannel then instigate new business practices to cater to changed shopping habits. Players such as IKEA did well, along with some pureplays that had previously been considered niche 

The industry is facing ethical and sustainability issues akin to those found in fast fashion, with shoppers increasingly looking to buy from ethical sources. Unlike in fast fashion, however, for homewares this is still very much in a nascent phase, so is likely to be one of the key drivers of the industry beyond 2021 

With sustainability in mind, the market is set to be disrupted by the growth of second-hand and recycled homewares, especially in the furniture side of the sector. Consumers are already looking at how to make this work, with niche players that produce and sell recycled, recyclable and used items likely to become a prominent niche in the sector 

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