In mid-March, when United States President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and the coronavirus has infected people in all 50 states, many white-collar Americans began working from home. According to a survey by analytics and advisory company Gallup, on March 13 at the beginning of U.S. stay-at-home orders, 31 percent of employees in the nation were working remotely. By the end of the month, that number had doubled to 62 percent. With an unprecedented amount of time spent in their domestic spaces, Americans also began shopping to redecorate them.
In the first week of stay-at-home orders in the United States, luxury consignment retailer The RealReal saw a 23 percent week-over-week uptick in sales of home items. Over the last three months, retail website Moda Operandi has seen a 97 percent increase in the quantity of homeware items sold. And during the month of March, online furniture and home renovation shop Wayfair saw strong demand for kitchen items and soft goods like bedding, towels, and mattresses. Spending more time indoors this spring led shoppers to reconsider their home decor, and embrace the inclination toward “nesting,” the desire to rearrange one’s surroundings to increase comfort, cleanliness, or pleasurable aesthetics (the term is often associated with pregnancy as families get the urge to create a nursery or a child-friendly home while waiting for the baby’s birth).
For Moda Operandi shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic, stocking up on festive tabletop products (plates, napkins, placemats, etc.) is a priority as many more people are cooking and eating at home. The retailer’s best-sellers include raffia placemats by designer Tory Burch and Les Ottomans cloth napkins printed in a peacock design. Luxury consumers at The RealReal showed similar interests. In the period between March 16 and June 8, demand for items in the home and art category jumped 16 percent year over year, largely driven by purchases of sculpture and tabletop items, says Patricia Stevens, category director for the company.
Wayfair reported that outdoor dining essentials have continued to sell well during the virus’s rise. “In March, when stay-at-home orders went into effect, Wayfair saw strong demand for work-from-home necessities such as desks, office chairs, as well as basic cookware and other kitchen items,” says Julie Cassetina, the company’s senior public relations director. “As we entered April, Wayfair customers began to shift focus to enhancing their outdoor spaces to really maximize function, making it a true extension of the home. Based on the trends we’re seeing, consumers are looking for new ways to entertain the whole family outdoors, while also elevating their yards with decorative accents and more.”
Now, as the number of COVID-19 infections rises again in several states, experts predict these home and design shopping trends will continue. “We’re expecting that investing and improving the home will be an ongoing trend through the remainder of 2020,” says Stevens. “Even as restrictions begin to lift, we still anticipate consumers will be spending more time at home than they were pre-COVID due to ongoing precautions,” she continues. Whether sprucing up an outdoor space, perfecting a tablescape, or buying the latest gadget for a new favorite recipe, the data shows that Americans at home are willing to spend on improving their environment, despite nationwide economic downturn. Says Stevens: “As the months continue, we expect they will not only seek items for functionality and comfort but also continue to invest in their surroundings (art, decor) to better appreciate their living space.”