During an online press conference held on 29 June, an interesting research on "Housing styles and purchasing approaches 2020" was presented. The study, sponsored by Federmobili Milano Lodi Monza e Brianza and carried out by CSA Research and The Zen Agency, is the first vertical research that monitors the trend in Italy of attitudes and purchases in the Furniture and Design sector.
The objective of the research was to better identify the context in which consumers have found themselves in recent months, before and during the Covid-19 emergency and the lockdown period, and to analyze the data that emerged to provide valuable insights into the business strategies of companies, retailers and brand manufacturers. The observation, already started in autumn 2019, has allowed us to verify how the purchasing behaviour of Italians has changed in this period until today, to a new "normality".
Rethinking the interior spaces of the home
The months of forced quarantine have forced many people to live their homes in a completely different way, trying to adapt their daily life, mainly related to study and work, in environments not designed for those purposes. Even smart working has led many people to study changes in their homes to find more functional solutions to these new needs.
The research "Housing styles and purchasing approaches 2020" first of all showed that 50.2% of those interviewed said they would like to commit themselves in the next 12 months to some work and improvement in the home, even simultaneously (+6.4% compared to 2019): painting (40.4%), complete renovation of one or more rooms (12.8%), air conditioning and heating (12%), plumbing (10.9%), partial modification of the house (10.6% - doors, floors, fixtures).
Also with regard to consumers' purchasing intentions for the various furnishing accessories and household appliances, there is an overall growth compared to autumn research. There is a more marked increase for the different categories: beds (+4.3%), tables and chairs (+3.7%), household appliances (+3.6%), garden furniture and balconies (+3.2%), sofas and armchairs (+3.2%).
There was also a good increase for bookcases (+2.9%), knick-knacks (+2.9%) and paintings/mirrors (+2.8%), while the categories that have seen the least positive signs are wardrobes, wardrobes, shoe cupboards (+1.3%), sideboards, cupboards, chests of drawers (+1.1%), table accessories (+1.1%), air conditioning systems, alarms, home automation (+1%).
Purchases made in the last 12 months
The analysis of the last 12 months shows that in general the propensity to buy online has affected 73.4% of consumers and that 31.9% of them have purchased furniture and household items, since it is unchanged compared to last autumn's survey (32%). These consumers are mainly 35-44 years old, living in the North West and South.
In general, during the lockdown, online consumer purchases have naturally moved towards the most useful categories: health and wellness (+5.2%), food and nutrition (+8.6%), beauty and cosmetics (+4%).
As far as the design and furnishing sector alone is concerned, one third of respondents say they don't know how much they spend on their homes every year, while one third say they spend on average up to 500 euros per year, 21% between 500 and 1000 and 12% between 1000 and 1500. The propensity to spend and awareness is greater among those who buy online.
The respondents' answers show that the internet is useful, regardless of a greater attitude to buying online, first to compare prices (22%) and then to buy at a better price (16%). Those who buy online also emphasize the usefulness of the network for checking product reviews, while those who do not buy online use the network to identify the nearest or best stocked store.
The home concept for Italians: 5 living profiles
From the data of the research "Housing styles and purchasing approaches 2020" emerges a very interesting panorama on how Italians consider the home and what are the predominant aspects depending on their context. Five housing profiles have been identified that tell the concept of the Italians' home: expressiveness, ostentation, essentiality, hospitality and study-work. For each profile there is interesting information both on a socio-demographic level and on the level of interests and tastes, with the percentage of the degree of satisfaction of one's own habitat. People who identify themselves in the expressiveness profile are more satisfied with their home environment (73.7%), while those linked to "work-study" are much less so (55.8%).
Rosanna Tozzo, president of Federmobili Milano Lodi Monza e Brianza, who sponsored the initiative, declared that with this research she wanted to offer concrete help to her associates and the entire furnishing sector "to understand the scenario in which we found ourselves and act accordingly, while remaining constantly connected to the real needs of our associates and consumers".
Satisfied Rossella Ceccattini, Research Director of CSA Research, a research institute specialized in carrying out socio-economic research, market research and opinion polls, highlighted how "Housing styles and purchasing approaches" can prove to be a preliminary and effective tool to allow operators in the sector to orient themselves with increasing competence and responsibility to the customer, anticipating their needs and tastes.
"Today everything revolves around consumers. And the design and furnishing sector is no different from the others," stressed Simone Ramaccini, Project Advisor of the ZEN agency. "In this context, talking about content strategy and e-commerce is no longer taboo, especially if you know our interlocutors (buyer personas and personas) better".