Why did furniture sales grow at a slower rate in July?

The Mastercard SpendingPulse report for July showed that furniture and furnishings grew at a slower rate than the overall retail segment.

PURCHASE, NY — Furniture and home furnishings sales were among the slower growing categories in July, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse report.

According to the monthly report, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, sales growth for furniture and furnishings sectors (at 5%) came in below the overall rate of growth.

Comparatively, US retail spending excluding automotive increased 11.2% year-over-year in July, while retail sales excluding automotive and gas rose 9%. Rising prices — particularly for necessities such as food and fuel — were a contributing factor, as Mastercard SpendingPulse reflects nominal spending and is not adjusted for inflation.

“The latest retail trends place an emphasis on consumer choice and passion driven spending; they’re hunting for deals, shopping across channels and ultimately still spending on experiences and goods that make them feel good,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc.

As retailers grapple with excess inventory and supply chain constraints, it’s likely that the promotional activity seen in July will continue to be an important strategy for retailers.”

After heating up during the pandemic, Mastercard notes that the US housing market has cooled considerably since the beginning of 2022, influencing consumer spending on home-related goods. With significant interest rate hikes resulting in fewer homes sold, this has been translated into a decline in home-related purchases. In addition to the furniture and furnishings category’s 5% increase, the home improvement category was only up 2.9%.

While in-store sales remain elevated, up 11.1% YOY/13.9% vs. In 2019, e-commerce posted its first month of double-digit sales growth (11.7% YOY) since December. E-commerce is up nearly double pre-pandemic levels (98.5% vs 2019).

Online sales have ticked up since the beginning of June, although July’s major promotional events (such as Amazon’s Prime Day) helped entice shoppers with online deals.

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Thomas Lester is Retail Editor for Furniture Today and Digital/Managing Editor for Home Accents Today. A graduate of Emory & Henry College’s Mass Communications program, Lester spent a dozen years working for newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina covering an array of subjects, ranging from community news, government, education, ACC sports, professional baseball and more before joining Furniture Today in 2013. Reach out to me with your story ideas, tips and more at [email protected]

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