1st October 2022

Why refurbishment is the future of furniture retail

By TFRG Team

While we’re all familiar with the big retailers selling a range of furniture for our homes, it’s encouraging to see that some of the latest trends and offerings across the retail industry are changing due to growing demand from consumers to get greener and more sustainable.

Furniture industry trends

Second-hand success

In recent years buying second-hand items has become more and more popular with websites and apps including Ebay, Vinted and Facebook Marketplace, all aimed at selling unwanted items for cash.

Around 40% of British consumers said they were more likely to buy gifts from a second-hand store or website to help protect the planet but also to save money as the cost of living soars1. To help tap into this growing trend, larger retailers could introduce furniture buy-back schemes to reuse quality pieces of furniture, embracing circular economy principles.

Upcycling market

Another top trend on the rise is furniture flipping, also known as upcycling. Leading the upcycling trend has been a number of famous faces including TV’s home expert, Kirstie Allsopp, who has presented programmes dedicated to the craft – showing consumers just how easy it is to join in with the trend.

By reupholstering or painting a quality item of furniture, it can be reused rather than thrown away. Big retail chains including Aldi have introduced their own upcycling kits amongst their special buy items to help shoppers jump on the trend and do their part to encourage a more sustainable approach to shopping.

Sustainable choices

With consumer demand growing for more sustainable options, many retailers have created new items which offer greener alternatives. For example, Bensons for Beds is offering carbon-neutral packaging on all purchases while also using sustainable materials within their beds and mattresses, including recycled plastic bottles.

Is retail furniture a cyclical industry

Retail furniture is part of a cyclical industry, which means it creates goods that have a direct link to the economy. In times of recession or when the cost of living fluctuates, many consumers don’t have the luxury of spending on furniture and tend to opt for cheaper alternatives or don’t spend at all.

By offering buy-back schemes, second-hand items or more sustainable offerings, large furniture retailers could tap into consumer demand and see business boom when the economy is in a stronger position.

Reducing waste

Waste can cause a huge problem for many businesses. There can be large costs incurred when removing it from the premises and managing it sustainably, but there are a number of ways to turn this once logistical nightmare into a company asset.

By implementing a robust circular economy strategy, there are simple ways to eliminate waste in the manufacturing process, by either using a different material or redesigning a product to utilise the waste. While it is difficult to eliminate all waste, consider creating a new product from unused resource such as durable packaging for your goods could help to reduce business costs across the board.

Refurbished goods market

Another simple approach to help reduce waste and boost your business’ bottom line is to refurbish products for resale. During the pandemic, a new trend emerged transforming mattress sales and consumer habits like never before. ‘Bed in a box’ online mattress retailers grew significantly with retailers seeing sales soar by 200% or more2. With many offering 100 to 360-night comfort guarantees, the number of barely used mattresses being returned and sent to landfill became a significant problem for retailers and the environment.

During this time, we created and launched our bespoke technology and processes to rejuvenate returned mattresses allowing online retailers including Eve Sleep and Simba to retain profits through resale, whilst significantly reducing the number of mattresses going to landfill.

The Furniture Recycling Group CEO and Founder, Nick Oettinger has decades of experience and knowledge on implementing circular economy principles and has helped a range of businesses to achieve their sustainable goals.

Discover their sustainable stories via our case studies.

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