TD Bank survey finds retailers optimistic about industry

TD Bank’s fourth-annual furniture retailer survey shows optimism in the furniture industry, with a majority of retailers (45%) expecting furniture sales to increase through 2019.

The study, conducted during High Point Market, shows that optimism has increased since 2017, when just 35% of retailers expected furniture sales to increase.

“TD’s survey uncovered several key trends that will shape the market in the year ahead, helping to identify where retailers should focus in order to satisfy shifting customer preferences,” says Mike Rittler, TD Banks’ general manager of retail card services, unsecured lending and business development. “In terms of the broader market landscape, the study highlighted optimism among furniture retailers through year end. It remains to be seen if this optimism will continue far into 2020 despite rumors of an economic slowdown.

Notable findings from the survey include:

  • Despite seeing the benefits, most furniture retailers don’t offer financing: Over half of respondents (52%) agree that financing programs help encourage customer loyalty and grow sales—a large jump from 32% in 2018. Yet 77% don’t offer financing programs for their customers.

    Of those who offer financing programs, almost half (48%) say their customers see paying off the purchase slowly over time to be the key benefit, followed by ability to make larger purchases (44%). For who don’t offer financing, 25% didn’t even know it was an option.

    “Our survey found that nearly half of retailers surveyed don’t currently offer financing for two primary reasons: they are either undereducated on the subject or are unsure of how to find a suitable financing partner,” Rittler says. “While furniture retailers may be unsure of how to implement a financing program, it’s more seamless than they might believe. Today’s technology offerings allow many financing programs to integrate directly into the point of sale process.”

  • Most retailers aren’t concerned about a holiday surge: Most survey respondents (44%) don’t plan on making any changes to accommodate increased consumer demand over the holidays. 32% plan to offer special promotions, and 13% plan to hire additional staff.
  • 2020’s biggest furniture trend? Eco-friendly products: Almost half of respondents (46%) predict the eco-friendly furniture trend to build the most momentum heading into 2020.
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Courtesy of Casual Living

Written by Alex Milstein, Senior Editor