The furniture market has been rattled by Amazon’s introduction of its own-brand furniture ranges Stone & Beam and Rivet last week with share prices of US furniture specialists including Kirkland’s and Wayfair taking a hit.
The ranges are confined, for the time being, to the US, but if successful, Amazon will undoubtedly roll its furniture out internationally.
In true Amazon style, it is undercutting the competition: affordable prices, free and fast delivery (without the need to sign up to Prime), a 30-day returns policy, and a one-year warranty make the offer very attractive.
People currently wait weeks for delivery of furniture, but Amazon is offering delivery within days, which will win considerable favour with customers.
The two ranges target different demographics: Rivet is an affordable modern range aimed at millennials, and Stone & Beam, at a higher price point and with a more traditional look, is designed with families in mind.
Given Amazon’s broad target market, the launch will affect the furniture market at large.
Visiting the landing pages for Stone & Beam and Rivet, it’s immediately clear that Amazon has delivered a considered and curated proposition – this being a significant hindrance to Amazon’s current third-party furniture offer, yet highly sought after by furniture shoppers.
The number of people choosing a particular furniture retailer because of its wide range has fallen 7.2 percentage points between 2014 and 2016, according to GlobalData research.
Amazon’s timing for the launch is perfect, and takes advantage of the hard work furniture specialists have put in at building consumer trust in shopping online for big-ticket items with things like Made.com’s Sofasizer, to help online buyers see how their sofa will look.
And this year growth in the online furniture market is set to outperform the wider market, driven by an increase in customers buying online, which is now at 43.5 percent, a rise of 2.7 percentage points on last year.
Amazon’s next move will be to open physical stores, as, increasingly, it’s the marriage between physical and online that’s important.