This Is the New Way Consumers Shop for Furniture

couch from Maiden Home
Photo: Maiden Home
You don’t have to be afraid to buy furniture online anymore.

Millennials spent 27 billion dollars on furniture in 2015, so there's no doubt that their buying power is stronger than ever. And considering that over half of shopping is done online these days, it's no surprise that retailers are catering to these digital age shoppers—especially when it comes to home goods. Just think of all of the new online home furnishing, décor and bedding sites that are taking off, like Maiden Home, Parachute and Brooklinen, or interior design sites like Laurel & Wolf and Decorist.

The process of finding and buying furniture used to require a lot more work than it does today. You'd drive to a showroom, then you'd go home, think about that couch and picture it in your own space. Then you'd return to the showroom and place an order. It could take two months (or more) for your item(s) to finally arrive, leaving you couch-less for ages. If this experience sounds foreign to you, it's because most of us don't shop that way anymore.

parachute bedding

According to Nidhi Kapur, the founder of the chic, custom, direct-to-consumer furniture site Maiden Home, 90 percent of millennials do all of their product discovery online and 25% of millennials buy furniture without ever laying their eyes on the actual product. “They see the value in convenience," Kapur says. “Digital media really influences how we find things and formulate our own aesthetic."

There are, of course, still a few pain points when it comes to taking the plunge on something so expensive (and big) with one click. You still want to feel like you've seen all the color options and make sure you can visualize how it will fit in your home. Maiden Home has had major success solving that first problem by offering sofas and chairs in over 40 fabrics (which you can actually see online). “We're focusing on all things that a store can't do that we can," Kapur says.

And as for figuring out how a piece will work in your own space, virtual design sites and apps are popping up everywhere, from Benjamin Moore's paint your own room app to Modsy's 3D modeling and furniture placement tool, that allows you to upload pictures of your space and arrange items from hundreds of retailers to see how'd they'd fit. “Our approach lets you visualize, at scale, an item you're considering purchasing alongside items you already own," says Modsy founder Shanna Tellerman. “It enables you to see exactly how that new couch will look in your space so you can make a confident decision."

Now, we're not saying there's going to be a massive shutdown of showrooms, but brands like Modsy and Maiden Home are giving convenience-minded shoppers easy ways to redecorate stylishly. And we can't wait to see the amazing innovations furniture brands will come up with next.