Trends : Behind the boom in luxury brands in furniture and decoration

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For several years now, the home furnishings and decoration market has been experiencing an unprecedented craze. The health crisis’s deprivation of the opportunity to go out has reminded us of the importance of home comfort or cocooning, contributing to the spread of this fundamental trend on an international scale. Since then, luxury brands have multiplied their forays into home decoration, whether through diversification or collaboration.

According to a study carried out in May 2020 by Allied Market Research, the global market for interior and exterior home decoration is expected to reach $840 billion between 2020 and 2027. This compares with $617 billion in 2019. The rise of the global middle classes plays a central role in this growing investment by brands in the home furnishings and decoration sector.

 

In France, this market totals almost 26 billion euros. This sum is divided between furnishings, valued at 12.73 billion according to the Institut de prospective et d’études de l’ameublement (IPEA), and interior decoration, valued at 13.2 billion, according to Les Echos Etudes. This universe includes floor and wall coverings (50%), home textiles (19%), tableware (18%) and lighting and other decorative objects (14%). In the ranking of the top ten online shopping sites specializing in furniture and home furnishings, the leaders are Amazon (34.6%), Ikea (21.6%) and Cdiscount (19.9%). Pure players specializing in home furnishings, such as Made and Miliboo, have also carved out a place for themselves in this market.

 

With figures like these, the interior design market is indeed a flourishing sector. Today, it attracts many luxury brands. Already in 2020, the Japanese label Kenzo launched a new interior design brand, called K3. It boasts a comprehensive catalog of ceramics, textiles, linens and furniture, bridging the gap between Japanese culture and the Western world. More recently, in 2022, Louis Vuitton opened its very first interior design store in the heart of Shanghai, China. Fendi and its Fendi Casa line have also just opened their very first flagship store in China, bringing the number of specialized outlets to three. Not bad for a product line that had no physical outlet a year earlier.

 

Luxury and deco : Ralph Lauren as a pioneer

 

Ralph Lauren has always been avant-garde. Retired from the presidency of its eponymous brand since 2015, its founder personified the American dream for five decades, from simple door-to-door tie salesman to textile tycoon operating over 300 boutiques worldwide. Like so many others after them, the American brand chose to go beyond its core business – fashion and accessories – to diversify over time into fragrances, homewares and even catering. According to Forbes’ list of billionaires, this self-made man, now 75, has a net worth of $7.7 billion.

 

In autumn 1983, Ralph Lauren became the very first fashion designer to present a collection entirely dedicated to home and furniture, paving the way for luxury lifestyle brands.

 

 

Reflecting the brand’s heritage, tradition and timeless elegance, Ralph Lauren Home’s iconic collections come in several distinct ranges. These include Point Dume (a contemporary reinterpretation of Ralph’s love of the seaside), Desert Modern (a luxurious ruggedness inspired by the beauty of the western frontier), Apartment No. One (reflecting an English aristocratic lifestyle) and Brook Street (combining Savile Row tailoring, Hollywood romance and whimsical elements). Added to this is a range of lighting, flooring, furniture and decorative accessories. These range from 19th-century industrial lamps to graphic Art Deco rugs.

 

New relationships

 

Since Ralph Lauren, many brands, particularly in the luxury sector, have turned their attention to the world of decoration. And yet, although the link between luxury and decoration is clearly established today, we’ve seen an acceleration since the Covid-19 crisis on the part of the major Houses. So why are they venturing into the interior design and furniture industry?

 

First of all, it’s a strategy of diversification beyond the fashion and accessories worlds, and even beyond tableware, until recently the only decorating segment covered by luxury brands. Luxury brands see this as a good way of capturing new growth drivers, while diluting their risks.

 

It’s also a clever way for brands to keep up with the lifestyles of their affluent clientele and explore new territories of expression. This strategy is in line with the concept of brand extension. Home products enable luxury brands to project their universe and aesthetics right into the customer’s home. An approach that can create a global brand experience, aligned with the brand’s identity.

 

However, the quest for profitability remains a driving force for brands. The furniture and home furnishings market is proving particularly lucrative, with growing demand for high-quality products and original creations. Luxury brands can capitalize on their prestigious image and charge top-of-the-range prices, boosting revenues and profit margins. What’s more, by investing in the home furnishings sector, luxury brands seek to respond to the need for personalization of this demanding clientele. And the range of possibilities is much wider than in fashion: between design aesthetics, innovative materials, exclusive finishes and patterns, and made-to-measure options.

 

Another reason to emphasize the convergence between luxury and decoration is the opportunities for synergy with the fashion world. Furniture and decorative items can, in fact, be a natural extension of fashion collections for a luxury House. On the whole, luxury brands’ foray into the world of homeware is explained by their desire to diversify their offerings, broaden their brand footprint, capitalize on a lucrative market, explore personalization and establish synergies with their fashion collections.

 

Finally, furnishings and decorations are the first step in developing a hotel offer, the culmination of building a lifestyle brand. In fact, the hotel-restaurant world serves as a veritable showcase for the brand’s range of products for the home. And if the customer experience in the establishment proves conclusive, it’s a great opportunity for the brand to convert its hotel clientele into future buyers of its decorative products.

 

Rush of luxury brands

 

With new incentives to invest in the interior design market, initiatives by luxury brands have multiplied. For example, Tiffany & Co. announced in March that Lauren Santo Domingo, brand director and co-founder of Moda Operandi, will take on the role of the brand’s first-ever home category art director. Domingo’s first collection will feature new lines of tableware adorned with the brand’s iconic motifs such as Tiffany Berries, Tiffany T True, Tiffany Wisteria, Tiffany Toile, Tiffany Audubon and Valse Bleue. On the other hand, Italian luxury brand Furla and Asian home and lifestyle products group Magnificat announced in March the launch of the Furla Home line at Milan Design Week 2023. With this collection, the brand aims to merge craftsmanship and technological innovation, as well as fashion and design.

 

 

Above all, however, it was the 61st edition of the Milan Furniture Fair, the “Salone del Mobile”, which took place last April, that perfectly illustrates the enthusiasm of brands for the decoration sector. Houses such as Loewe, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Bottega Veneta, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada presented their new creations in original settings.

 

Karl Lagerfeld’s eponymous brand unveiled a line of luxury furniture and a range of items for the home. This foray follows the auction of Karl Lagerfeld’s estate, which revealed that the late designer owned enough furniture to constitute a museum. His private collection included a Jean Prouvé desk and a set of chairs designed by Philippe Starck for Cassina. The launch of the furniture line will include four main collections, each named after one of Lagerfeld’s favorite Paris neighborhoods: “Saint Germain” and “Saint Guillaume” for living room and bedroom furniture, “Quai Voltaire” for the kitchen and “Rue de l’Université” for lighting.

 

 

At Milan Design Week 2023, Roberto Cavalli previewed the new Home collections in its Montenapoleone boutique. Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors presented an outdoor collection for living and dining rooms. Directly inspired by the House’s latest fashion shows, the Interiors universe was enriched at this edition of the Salone del Mobile with the introduction of a sofa, an armchair, a loveseat and coffee tables in soft shapes.

 

 

The health crisis and the cocooning effect

 

If luxury brands are taking over the home decoration market, it’s because of the boom in this sector during the health crisis and periods of confinement. More and more French people are aspiring to interior decoration that is both designer and unique. So they’re not hesitating to invest in higher-quality, more upscale decorative elements.

 

Some companies have followed this trend by positioning themselves in the niche market of high-end decoration. In particular, they offer contemporary and luxurious items. According to a study by BFMTV, the French will spend a record 14 billion euros on furniture in 2021. In addition to looking to redecorate, or even renovate, their interiors, many people have opted to move upmarket to achieve a higher-quality result. The context of the pandemic also contributed to the widespread use of online shopping, a trend that continued after the periods of confinement. The desire for cocooning and well-being at home continues to occupy people’s minds, leading to the emergence of several trends.

 

Firstly, the “Back to Craft” trend, an anti-industrial movement challenging the hegemony of big business. This trend values handmade work, human relationships and the encouragement of small-scale entrepreneurs. This “Back to Craft” also seeks to highlight the talent, know-how, experience and creativity of local artisans. Handcrafted decorative objects embody the skills and personal stories of their creators. As such, they possess an emotional dimension that makes them unique and special. In essence, this movement aims to privilege craftsmanship over industry. Although it still has some way to go, it is already attracting the interest of many.

 

Another notable trend is the emergence of the “Natural Bond”. Containment has given rise to a desire to create interior design in harmony with the outside world, particularly nature. Launched at the start of the pandemic crisis, this trend remains relevant three years on. Individuals aspire to maintain a link with nature within their homes. To achieve this, they opt for natural decorative elements. Materials of natural origin have the advantage of promoting relaxation, a sense of security and mental equilibrium.

 

Other luxury brand strategies

 

Luxury brands often use diversification strategies to extend their presence and influence into other sectors, such as perfumery and hospitality.

 

Whether it’s brand extension, co-branding, acquisition or partnership, special events and collaborations or the creation of a dedicated product line, each luxury brand can choose different combinations of these strategies depending on its vision, target audience and available resources. The aim is generally to create synergy between the different sectors to reinforce the brand’s global presence and offer consistent, exclusive experiences to its customers.

 

Read also >Italian Design Brands soon to be listed on Euronext Milan

 

 

Read also > LuxePack Monaco 2023 focuses on in-house well-being and sustainability

 

Featured photo : © Louis Vuitton

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