According to key on-site search data from Europe’s leading home decor and appliance brands, our relationship with home has been on a remarkably transformative journey since 2021.

When it comes to eCommerce, each keystroke on a search bar narrates a story. Well, that’s the case for us geeks at FactFinder, anyway. But stick with us and you’ll see there’s quite the tale to uncover when you dive into the 2021-2023 search trends of customers in the home decor and appliances sector. 

But we’re not just talking about the general sweep of Google or Bing. We’ve delved into the precise search data from not just the leading brands, but also the lesser-known gems in the industry, all from their own eCommerce platforms. Yep, we’ve seen what customers have been hunting for in these online furniture shops and digital boutiques, and while we can’t name names, trust us when we say the numbers are telling, and downright brow-raising.

From pandemic-induced behavioral changes to economic factors, all the way to Black Friday’s digital shopping frenzies, we’re digging deep. We’ll also gaze into the crystal ball, predicting what the future might have in store based on current trajectories, emerging technologies and evolving consumer preferences.  

2021: the unexpected dip

The expectation was that 2021 would be a standout year for brands in the home decor and appliances industry, but the numbers paint a nuanced picture. There was a remarkable 40.88% rise in initial searches from 2021 to 2022 within their online stores, yet the subsequent year saw a considerable decrease, with a drop of 58.58% from 2022 to 2023. Overall, several other major industry players achieved search numbers below initial expectations, drawing attention to a few external influences to brand as culprits. 

So, what stirred the pot in 2021? 

Certainly, pandemic fatigue played its part. After months of being confined to our homes, there emerged a palpable yearning for the tactile experiences of yesteryears—the simple joy of fondling bedding or the comfort of trying out a new sofa before playing furniture Jenga to get it through the hallway. This longing for the sensory aspects of shopping temporarily diverted some consumers from the digital realm, we can assume. 

However, this explanation only scratches the surface of a much more intricate story. A deeper dive reveals a constellation of contributing factors. Economic shifts, for instance, played a significant role. The turbulent economic climate, marked by fluctuating job markets and financial uncertainties, likely influenced consumer spending habits.

After all, let’s not pretend that the average Joe can just pop down to the shops to casually decorate his flat—it’s a luxury experience even on a budget. Because as exciting as it is to tirelessly ponder over paint colors with epithets like ‘French Lover’s Kiss’ and ‘Paul’s Beard’, there’s no denying that our wallets are going to take a beating at the checkout aisle. 

But the downturn observed in the home decor & appliances sector wasn’t a consistent trend across all industries. The construction and machinery industry, for instance, witnessed on-site search surges of approximately 123% from 2021 to May 2023. A certain prominent player in the omnichannel trading space saw its search numbers rise by a staggering 160% during the same period. In contrast, another key industry participant, after a robust 2022, settled with only modest search numbers of around 3,600K by May 2023. Overall, though, compared to home decor? Business was booming.  
Why, though? Well, we can point to the simple fact that construction cannot stop, nor can mechanical innovation and demand. With the populating swelling, new homes and workplaces sprout up faster than we can blink. It’s an essential sector, but lampshades and curtains? They’re mostly aesthetic choices at the end of the day, and when times are tough, the first thing we do is dial back our budget for luxury.  

2022: the resurgence of digital 

While 2021 might have been a year of unexpected outcomes, 2022 wasn’t to be outdone. It did more than just recover—it reinvented the narrative. With our search analysis showing a whopping 42% growth in on-site searches for home decor & appliances from January to November, brands – both old and new – redefined their strategies. 

But not all sectors shared this growth story uniformly in 2022. While the home decor & appliances industry boomed, searches for toys & baby and medical supplies took noticeable hits, dropping by 80% and 43%, respectively. Meanwhile, total searches in jewelry and watches brands have decreased with -14% in January – November 2022 compared to January – November 2021.   

And if you’ll excuse a bit of speculation here, we can assume that the reason home decor & appliances came out on top in 2022 was because of how the pandemic left most of us feeling sick to our stomachs of the four walls we had to stare at for weeks on end. It was either that or Jeremy Kyle, and in both cases, swift and decisive change was needed. From pointless tack to a new set of drawers, our fingers raced across keyboards and touchscreens for something new. 

2023: brands evolve for the future 

In the fluctuating world of home decor and appliances, not all brands danced to the same digital beat. One prominent European player, previously a dominant force in the furniture market, observed a sharp decline of approximately 65% in search volume up to May 2023, compared to the same period the previous year. Conversely, there was a particular Bremen-based standout that clearly did some renovating of their eCommerce. Clocking an incredible 904% surge in search volume in 2022, their secret wasn’t a mystery. They had embraced the power of intelligent search and cutting-edge product discovery tools to guide customers to their desired tables and chairs. You can learn bit more about product discovery here

This up-and-coming German furniture shop merged their passion for the tactile and physical with cutting-edge AI, ensuring customers found exactly what they were looking for amidst the digital noise. It’s a tale of how to properly differentiate beyond both price and even product—a true highlight of search success, showing how the right data and algorithms can lead a customer to their destination with far greater accuracy than even the most laser-focused marketing campaign.  

And by May 2023, despite the inherent unpredictability of the market, the brand managed to mitigate its losses, experiencing a much milder drop in on-site searches than other brands during this period. This serves as a stark reminder that intelligent search has fought its way to the very top of the priorities list for achieving victory in the world of eCommerce. And if you fancy a deeper dive into how Germany is embracing this revolution, we strongly recommend giving this article a read. 

To make a long story mercifully short, 2023 wasn’t just a series of isolated events or standalone brand stories. It was a chapter of an industry adapting to shifting global events, evolving consumer preferences and the ever-present challenge of staying relevant in a competitive digital space. And while that’s all very inspiring, we still need to dive into the nitty gritty. 

Diving deeper: analyzing the trends 

A year-by-year comparison, while insightful, barely scratches the surface. It’s essential to understand the underlying factors: 

  • A renewed love for physical: As the pandemic turned homes into multifunctional spaces, there was a distinct shift in consumer priorities. Home offices, gyms and entertainment zones within living spaces became the new normal. This transformation drove a surge in relevant product searches and purchases. 
  • Sustainability takes the front seat: The years 2021 and 2022 saw a heightened global eco-awareness. Consumers weren’t just looking for products—they sought sustainability. Brands that could marry eco-friendliness with quality became the frontrunners. 
  • Revolution in online shopping: It wasn’t just about buying products online anymore. Augmented Reality trials, AI-driven suggestions and virtual home tours became industry standards. These advancements redefined the online shopping experience, bridging the gap between digital and physical. 

The Black Friday/Cyber Week phenomenon:

Frothing at the mouth for discount swag, millions of us leap at the deals dangling from digital hooks during the most successful marketing stunt ever conceived—the Black Friday/Cyber Week of November. It was a veritable shopping frenzy back in 2021, with our data showing that on-site search volumes surged by 76% compared to 2020, and the momentum continued in 2022 with a 37% rise from 2020. In home decor & appliances, this period became a pivotal moment for brands to showcase innovation and style. With a plethora of choices, from minimalist furniture to artistic decor pieces, digital platforms became the go-to destination. 

Balance between aesthetics and functionality in home decor becomes paramount during peak sale times. The competition is fierce, after all, and not just in discounts but in resonating with the modern consumer’s vision of a home that’s both comfortable and chic. The surge during Black Friday/Cyber Week underscores a broader trend—even the most modest homes are now becoming expressions of individuality and creativity.  

The phenomenon also highlights how we apparently stopped giving a damn about being able to try things out before making a purchase, leaving us to wonder just how many fridges and washing machines were sent back because they were too big for some guy’s studio apartment kitchen. Either way, millions of us were prepared to splash the cash, but with the cost of living crisis in full effect, will this trend remain? It might be reasonable to assume that the numbers will dip in 2023 and 2024, but you can never underestimate the general public’s love for a bargain.

Looking ahead and wrapping up: 

Drawing insights from our 2021-2023 search data, the future of home decor & appliances looks as bright and sparkly as a wellness coach’s Instagram page. Here’s our take: 

1. Continued growth in search volume: 

There was a 40.9% increase in on-site searches from 2021 to 2022. If this trajectory continues, 2023 might end on par with 2022 or even exceed it. Looking ahead, 2024 could potentially experience a growth rate surpassing 11.5% from 2022. This progression doesn’t just represent a transient spike in consumer curiosity but underscores the robust health of the industry. 

2. Brands on the rise: 

While individual brands have seen fluctuations, the collective narrative remains optimistic. Despite a dip from major players in 2023, brands have shown the capability to rally and might make a strong comeback in 2024. They successfully weathered the storm of 2022, and already seem on the path of recovery in 2023. With the right strategies, they, along with other brands in the sector, could reach new heights in 2024. 

3. Stable customer base with potential for growth: 

The number of end customers shopping at the retailers we’ve gathered data on remained fairly consistent from 2021 to 2022. Even with a slight dip in 2023, it might be a temporary setback. Given the increasing on-platform search volumes and the home decor industry’s resilience, 2024 could not only witness the comeback of these previous shoppers but also welcome a wave of new ones.

Wrapping up: 

Looking ahead, intelligent search won’t just be important, it’ll be as vital as having a search bar to begin with. And this is the same for every industry. It’s no longer about just searching, it’s about predicting. It’s about knowing what your customers want before even they’ve fully formed the thought.

And as intelligent search gets sharper and more intuitive, the next frontier for brands won’t just be who has the fanciest decor, but who can dangle it in front of our eyes the fastest and most accurately. The future? An arms race of algorithms and predictive prowess. Brands will jostle, not just with product innovation, but with intelligent search differentiation strategies. Because in the coming years, you have to do far more than just invent curtains that change hue based on your bedroom performance, but ensure they’re the first thing your customers see when they begin their shopping journey. 

Yep, home decor and appliances appears to be on a promising trajectory. The amalgamation of growing consumer interest, brands rising to the occasion and an ever-increasing demands for faster and more accurate results suggests a future filled with innovation, growth and myriad opportunities. For consumers and industry players alike, 2024 and beyond could very well be a golden age for the industry.