salone del mobile 2024

Home living dominates online market

The furnishing and design sector drives the evolution of the online market, where home living accounts for 20% of the total value of product e-commerce in Italy, exceeding EUR 4 billion, according to the eCommerce B2c Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic. At the Salone del Mobile 2024, e-commerce experts from Calicantus reveal the key trends for competing in the market.

The Salone del Mobile 2024: an opportunity to take stock of trends

The spotlights were on the Salone del Mobile, which welcomed visitors from 16 to 21 April in Milan. The major expo gave an opportunity to assess a sector that, according to the FederlegnoArredo Study Centre, is expected to grow by 4.5% in the coming months, of which 8.5% will be in exports and 1.7% in the Italian market. 

In the detail of the furniture macro-system, the estimate indicates a total +6.4%, made up of +10% exports and +2.9% for the Italian market. For wood, the forecast is lower: +1.5% overall with +4.9% exports and +0.2% for the domestic market. “The hope is that these estimates can be confirmed, in the knowledge that it is now truly complex, not to say impossible, to make long-term forecasts, given the unstable international landscape.” commented Claudio Feltrin, President of FederlegnoArredo.

A different situation applies to the e-commerce market in Italy, which maintained a moderate yet significant growth trend in 2023. This is particularly apparent in the area of furniture and home living, where an increasing number of Italians are choosing the convenience of online shopping.

According to data from the B2c eCommerce Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic, the furniture and home living sector accounts for about 20% of the total value of product e-commerce in Italy, reaching EUR 4 billion. 

While growth in 2023 was slightly lower than the +8% general average, the 7% increase gives a positive upward trend set to continue in 2024 and become consolidated. Indoor and outdoor furniture, giftware and decoration, kitchen accessories, textiles and lighting remain the most popular categories, with smartphones emerging as the preferred channel when shopping for online furniture.

“Made in Italy” triumphs in luxury design

“The ‘Made in Italy’ label represents excellence and quality in luxury design, which is recognised and appreciated worldwide. To fully capitalise on this strong reputation, Italian brands must adopt an omnichannel approach that effectively integrates online and offline channels for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C).” underlines Calicantus CEO, Valentino Bergamo.

The offer of value-added services is a further key factor. Flexible delivery, assembly, take-back and customisation are all contributing to the growth of the digital trade in interior design products. 

In this respect, enhanced logistics services and the deployment of more sustainable solutions are making e-commerce even more attractive among consumers.

Also, the use of augmented reality (AR) to display products, and artificial intelligence (AI) to assist during the shopping process, are revolutionising e-commerce in the furniture industry, offering more immersive and personalised shopping experiences.

Despite the vibrant growth, still-untapped opportunities in e-commerce remain in the furniture and décor industry. Companies should invest in online offerings and customer experience innovation by using technologies such as AR and AI to maximise their e-commerce opportunities.

The future of e-commerce in interior design is promising and, with an ongoing focus on sustainability and value-added services, many opportunities are still to be seized in the industry by SMEs and top retailers who are keen to embrace change and anticipate consumer needs.

Calicantus: the ideal partner for success in furniture e-commerce

A member of the Scientific Committee of the Milan Polytechnic, Calicantus Srl is Merchant of Records for major companies including Flos, Elica, Pampers, Segafredo, Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano, Smemoranda, Selle Italia, Cordivari, Teporia, Morica Design and Point House, for which it is in charge of all e-commerce operations, attending to the most delicate aspects such as customer care, logistics, shipments, returns and administration, all of which are fully outsourced. In the last 15 years, Calicantus has developed a structured ecosystem of people, processes and technologies that simplify integration with pre-existing business systems, thereby accelerating go-to-market for omnichannel online brand sales.