September 1, 2006, 12:00 AM

Web settling into consumers’ furniture and appliance buying routines

Referrals are up 92% to retailers selling furniture and up 50% to home appliance retailers over the past six months at PriceGrabber.com. An online shopper survey finds price, convenience, and avoiding crowds are the top reasons to shop online.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

More consumers are starting or building on their search for furniture, appliances and home furnishing on the web, with those categories beginning to follow the same path that led to the online channel being now firmly established as part of how consumers buy and search for electronics and technology. According to Market Reporter, shopping engine PriceGrabber.com’s research database, PriceGrabber showed a 92% increase in merchant referrals to retailers in the furniture category over the past six months, and a 50% increase in merchant referrals for major appliances.

From the patterns of shopper behavior over that period, it appears consumers are doing their homework by researching on the web for sales, lower taxes and free shipping, according to Kamran Pourzanjani, PriceGrabber.com president.

PriceGrabber’s data do not track whether referrals lead to online or offline transactions. However, “Savvy consumers for quite some time have been taking advantage of the convenience and savings of buying big-ticket electronic items such as TVs and computers online. So it`s natural to see online shoppers also embrace the convenience, selection and pricing that is more readily available through the Internet for other large-ticket items,” Pourzanjani says.

23% of online shoppers surveyed by PriceGrabber said they expect to buy more products online for their home within the next 12 months. That aligns with research from Jupiter Research forecasting that online spending for furniture will increase 17.4% between 2005 and 2010. It also mirrors the experience of some individual furniture retailers. “Our online business has increased more than 1,000% over the past three years,” says Scott Perry, CEO of EverythingFurntiure.com.

PriceGrabber survey of online shoppers also determined that consumers` top three motivations in going online to shop for furniture and appliances are finding better prices, the convenience of shopping where they wanted to and the ability to shop from home and avoid crowds at stores and malls.

 

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