The impact of e-commerce in the Indian market on furniture sales

The impact of e-commerce in the Indian market on furniture sales

In the early part of the decade, everything sold on e-commerce, and online sales were soaring. Over the years, a few product categories like electronics and fashion continued to boom online, while some other categories withered away.

Meanwhile, buyers began to explore other product categories online. Currently, online furniture sales is capturing the imagination of furniture suppliers and buyers alike. Here is a quick look at the impact of e-commerce on the Indian furniture sales market and what the future looks like.

The early adopters

While a few furniture retailers forayed into the online sales space, the furniture is a mammoth one and almost 90% of it is still unorganized. Market size estimates (unconfirmed) peg this industry at $20 billion, give or take.

Recent changes in service terms like 'cash on delivery', 'partial payment', and ‘Easy EMI’ options have built the trust of the consumers with the providers. Coupled with ever-growing customer preference for established brands, this is moving the needle faster for online furniture sales.

While profit margins in markets like China and Brazil are around 10-15 percent, Indian providers still boast of a healthy 15-25 percent. This makes it more competitive and puts the online furniture market at par with apparel, encouraging e-retailers to explore new markets and opportunities.

Newer delivery options and reduced setup times

With the parallel industry of logistics and supply chain seeing a paradigm shift, the biggest challenge of delivering furniture is now less of a challenge. E-retailers can now choose to partner with one or many of these runners to deliver products at a much cheaper, effective, and shorter turn-around time than ever before. The whole delivery side of the business can be outsourced and the outsourced partner held accountable for the outcome.

Delivery and installation times have improved by leaps and bounds. Earlier, one had to wait for over 6 weeks to get their bed designed, made, and delivered by the local carpenter. Today's Millennial generation has neither the time nor the patience for such an ordeal. With online furniture sales and easy delivery, customers now opt for quick solutions and instantaneous consumption. This new model has disrupted the traditional mom-and-pop stores model and created a new business dynamic for the entire industry.

Emergence of new age online furniture platforms

Online platforms like also provide the opportunity for every furniture manufacturer to present and sell their products with a wide variety of customers. This is beneficial to the overall industry and brings a level of transparency and accountability among all players.

Consumers are moving out of the touch-and-feel mode and making furniture procurement a family affair to get quick and easy solutions. This disposition is slow but certainly moving in the right direction. Office decor and furnishing consultants and experts are buoyant about the industry outlook in the coming years.

While a majority of players are still entrenched in the old school format and there will continue to be a certain demand for offline sales, the pie is just getting smaller every day for offline players.