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COVID-19 and Furniture Advertising: Pivoting towards Home Office Ads

COVID-19 and Furniture Advertising: Pivoting Towards Home Office Ads

By now, you probably have gotten into the swing of your new work-at-home and do-everything-at-home lifestyle. 

But how are your neck and wrists doing?

Last week, we covered how software solutions that facilitate remote work, like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, responded quickly to coronavirus by doubling their ad spend in Q1.  

Now we want to look at another part of successful remote work — at-home office setups. 

While furniture stores at large have been hurting due to coronavirus, stores that sell office furniture have seen an increase in demand.

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The office furniture market was already looking positive

Even before coronavirus was on our minds, the office furniture market was expected to thrive over the next few years. MarketWatch forecasted a 5.52% year-over-year growth. 

While the report pointed to an increase in commercial spaces and number of employees across the globe, what we are seeing this quarter is a greater need for home office furniture.

“One area where we are selling pretty well compared to others is office furniture,” said Henrik Elm, global supply manager at brand owner Inter IKEA Group. “People are working from home and they have identified needs in their homes for it.” 

Similarly, Best Buy is experiencing an increased demand in office furniture for people working remotely. 

Many companies are willing to support their employees in their transition to remote work by offering them stipends to buy the furniture and supplies they need. 

Shopify offered its employees $1,000 stipends to buy desks, lamps and other furniture items they would have in the typical office.  

Furniture brands adjust their ad strategy in response to new market

Overall furniture ad spend has dropped since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, but companies seem to be taking it in stride by switching up their ad creatives.

The first three weeks of March saw a 52% reduction in overall ad spend. Some of this may be seasonal. Last March, we also saw a dip in ad spend, but it was less pronounced.

In March 2019, overall furniture ad spend was down 25% compared to the first three weeks of February 2019. 

Despite the decrease, furniture companies are still averaging over $5M in weekly ad spend so far this month. 

Much of the decreased ad spend targets consumer purchases: mattresses, tables, couches, shelves and so on. 

However, some furniture companies are advertising these products more, just with a subtle messaging adjustment and a nod to people’s new realities. 

For example, Raymour & Flannigan released new creative in the last couple of weeks, promoting “The Comfort of Home.” They put additional dollars behind the creative and boosted TV investment. In March they spent $1.4M on TV promoting the spot, compared to $658k spent in February. 

Office furniture advertising increases

More dramatic changes are happening among companies that already focus on office furniture, and companies that can pivot in that direction. 

For example, the standing desk company, Varidesk, has spent more on advertising in the first three weeks of March than the past 5 months combined.

Other furniture companies have shifted their creative focus from consumer products to home-office furniture.

Take for example, Ashley Furniture. The company released a new TV spot that makes reference to the “bright side” of spending your whole day with your kids and pets, showing a working mom at her desk in a new home office.  

Everything around us is changing as the COVID-19 pandemic carries on. It appears to leave nothing untouched — especially how we view the relationship between work and home. This is impacting how furniture stores are responding in their ad spend and their creative messaging.  

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