OTTAWA – E-commerce sales are most certainly growing for this country’s furniture and home furnishings stores as they almost tripled in the years between 2012 and 2014, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. However, they still account for less than 2% of all store sales.
In its newly published Annual Retail Trade survey for 2014, the federal bean counter reported furniture and home furnishings stores had combined e-commerce sales of $295.9 million – up 19.4% over the $247.7 million sold in 2013 and almost three times greater than the $98.3 million sold in 2012 – the first year for which these figures are available.
E-commerce accounted for 1.8% of the $16.8 billion in sales generated by furniture and home furnishings stores in 2014 – up from the 1.2% of the $16.2 billion in sales the year before.
In this study, Statistics Canada doesn’t separate furniture stores from home furnishings stores as it does in its monthly retail store sales as well as some other reports. The agency also doesn’t provide details by product category. For example, it doesn’t report e-commerce sales of mattresses or upholstery.
As most would expect, electronics and appliance stores have a much stronger e-commerce business than furniture and home furnishings stores. Online sales for these merchants totalled $779.9 million last year, up 3.9% over the $743.9 million sold in 2013. Online also accounted for 4.8% of all electronics and appliance store sales in 2014, climbing from 4.6% of sales in the prior year.
In fact, electronics and appliances stores have a higher ratio of online sales than almost any other retail sector tracked by Statistics Canada.
When it comes to the entire retail sector in Canada, e-commerce sales jumped 23.5% in 2014 to $12.0 billion, compared to $9.76 billion for the prior year. E-commerce accounted for 2.2% of all retail sales in 2014, up from 1.8% in 2013 and 1.6% in 2012.
IKEA Canada is probably the furniture retail sector’s leading and dominant player in e-commerce. In a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade in November 2015, company president Stefan Sjöstrand said IKEA sales for the fiscal year ending that August saw a nearly 40% jump in purchases via its web and mobile platforms.
“E-commerce was up significantly and for the first time in IKEA Canada's history exceeded the $100 million mark with total online sales of $103 million,” he added.
There are a number of other online retailers selling furniture, mattress and major appliances to Canadian consumers. A number of these are Canadian companies but sales to consumers in this country typically account for a smaller portion of their overall revenue. For example, theVancouver-based Cymax sold an estimated $180 million in furniture last year – only 3% of it, or $5.4 million, was to Canadian consumers.
This past January, Wayfair, the U.S. based online furniture and furnishings retailer established Wayfair.ca as part of its overall growth strategy. Their results will likely be included in the next e-commerce section of Statistics Canada's Annual Retail Survey.
In our Spring 2015 edition of the HGO Merchandiser, we published an overview of the major players retailing furniture and mattresses online. Click here to download the issue.