Furniture, decoration, the big winners of the crisis

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Ikea, Miliboo… the decoration and furniture market does not go out of style. While France is going through a financial crisis coupled with a health crisis, some markets are staying afloat. This is particularly the case for the furniture and decoration markets, which emerged as the winners of the crisis. How can this trend be explained when the economy is slowing down?

Furniture and decoration, towards a minimalist trend

The confinement has led to desires for change… Indeed, living at home permanently without being able to go out opens our eyes to concerns of accommodations but also, a weariness of decoration. On the job market, it’s a big upheaval… Teleworking also has consequences on the apprehension of one’s home, and the daily management of our well-being.

Changes of home, but also furniture and decoration have the wind in their sails. The difficulty of finding housing in some cities leads to other solutions. Changing furnishings is a perfect one.

Each year is given a different decoration trend, whether for fashion or decoration. The year 2020/2021 shows a return to a minimalist trend. The motto “Less is More” (1). Spaces that are too crowded quickly become stifling. Consumers want to reconnect with more space, thanks to the smart layout.

This trend is largely inspired by Nordic countries such as Norway, where Hygge fashion comes from. This word describes a calm state of mind and in harmony with oneself. It also goes through the furnishing of the house.

It contains materials such as wood, wool or wicker. The word cocooning is a watchword. The smallest thing of its importance, however, should not be done, nor should it be too much. Without falling into Christmas decoration, it is necessary to set up an interior that suits us … and also allows the home office. The desire to change is room for necessity.

The idea in 2020 is also to be able to delineate spaces with a specific functionality. However, like the Parisian apartments, the lack of space is a reality. In 2018, an average apartment in Paris is 63.8m2 compared to 68.7m2 for Bordeaux (2). It is therefore necessary to rethink the place and the living surfaces.

New furniture is developing. A desk can quickly turn into a decorative console. From a cupboard, a bed can appear that unfolds. Design furniture or practical inspiration, everyone will find his account … In addition, click-clicks are widely used to optimize space, especially among students who are just over 57,000 in the Bordeaux metropolis (3).

The second hand, the decoration 2.0

This is no surprise to anyone, the trend is also to second-hand objects. Home staging, a fashion highly popularized by Stéphane Plaza’s show, is a solution that pleases. Perfect to equip on a budget student rentals, or furnished rentals… And why not the company premises as well.

The idea is to recycle your furniture, or those that can be found on the street. It is not uncommon indeed at the bend of a Bordeaux street to fall on a coffee table or a sofa … The City of Bordeaux offers a service of removal of bulky items, however, the people of Bordeaux seem to appreciate this “open” donation.

A study by Statista in 2018 shows that 52% of French people buy second-hand furniture and decoration (4). Certainly, companies like Aliéna, already in difficulty despite its change in positioning, have undergone a judicial reorganization whose consequences are yet to be determined.

However, the market is there. And business opportunities too. Like Geev. A 100% Bordeaux start-up that created an app. It connects individuals wishing to donate objects with other individuals wishing to recover them.

Thanks to this initiative, it is possible to recover furniture but also decorative objects. Recently, Geev has also started donating food. This approach is therefore in solidarity.

In the same way, the Bordeaux company Cdiscount offers to recover damaged electronic objects, repair them and resell them at a lower cost. The company is also working with Geev to encourage buyers to donate the item they are replacing.

Ikea also opened its first used furniture store.

In search of French quality

France is a country known for its capital, its gastronomy but also for the reputation of its quality products. In the furniture and furniture sector, at the European level, it accounts for 6% of production. According to INSEE, it is in fifth place after Germany and Italy (5).

In the criteria for selecting French furniture in 2017, come first: functionality at 93%, durability at 88% and safety at 81% (6). Buying French furniture also means consuming local. This helps to maintain the economy and production.

If the giant Ikea is one of the largest sellers of furniture in France, the country has very beautiful brands such as Gauthier, a Vendée company. Proof of the attraction of Made in France, in 2016, 54% of French people considered this mention attractive when buying a piece of furniture.

One thing is certain, the crisis of the Covid-19 has given rise to the envy and the need for renewal among many French people. According to IFOP, 6% of the moves that took place as a result of the confinement were motivated by the latter (8). If moving is not easy, the other solution is to rearrange the spaces.

During this period, many have reconnected with the garden and outdoor furniture. Planning concerns have also been highlighted, particularly due to telework. Tricks exist such as coffee tables with a tray that rises or secretaries with a retractable tray. This Covid-19 crisis continues to lead to profound, certainly irreversible, changes in our daily lives.



2 – The size of housing in France – Well estimate SAFTI

3 – University of Bordeaux Key Figures – 13/07/2020

4 – New or used furniture: French preference 2018 – Statista / January 2018

5 – The French furniture industry in the face of European and Chinese competition

6 – The French want quality furniture – Avise

7 – Made in France – What the French think – IFOP

8 – My Casa will crack? – IFOP

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