Fashion Snoops expert trend forecaster Jay Anna Mize looks at what’s now and what’s next in style and consumer buying behaviors as we exit the pandemic.
It’s been over a year since Furniture World last spoke with Jaye Anna Mize about consumer behaviors, culture, lifestyles and home furnishings trends. Mize is VP of Creative Home Interiors and Design at the trend forecasting think-tank Fashion Snoops. We asked her to update her expectations for the furniture business going forward. “The focus on the home has obviously boomed due to COVID,” she observed. “Consumers are working on their homes which is a beautiful thing. However, there are a lot of sourcing issues including back orders, manufacturing and shipping delays.”
Potential Problems Ahead
“There’s a huge demand-supply mismatch that we as an industry desperately need to work out. At the same time, we are seeing that younger consumers want fewer, better things. This is a trend I shared with Furniture World in late 2019. It’s a trend that’s accelerating as older generations want to declutter and buy more quality-driven items as well.”
Mize says that supply issues coupled with declining demand will result in problems for the home furnishings industry. “At Fashion Snoops we are concerned that importers and retailers will accidentally overbuy, thinking that the unusually high demand during COVID will continue. We forecast that a lot of people are going to spend less on home furnishings post-pandemic. “Early in the pandemic when many people started working from home.
“We are seeing that younger consumers want fewer, better things. This is a furnishings trends I shared with Furniture World in late 2019. It’s accelerating.”
Individualized & Custom
They purchased a quick-fix desk. Now they are focused on replacing it with something better. People will put more emphasis on purchasing quality-crafted, locally-made products, and the trend toward buying more expensive furnishings online will continue. The pandemic has made consumers comfortable with buying higher priced items online without seeing them in person first.” Fashion Snoops does a huge amount of research when compiling yearly projections. They scan the internet and peruse tons of periodicals. In normal years they travel relentlessly to collect information on all aspects of design, consumer behavior, culture and lifestyles. “This year,” noted Mize, “there has been an unusually slow progression of new home furnishings designs due to COVID.
“Individualization and customization in the home has become more important. From a trend perspective, the industry is gravitating away from the idea of bucketed trends such as shabby chic, farmhouse, maximalism, minimalism and lux modern. I don’t think that we will see a color boom, a printing pattern boom or a shape boom any time soon.
Instead, there will be more design individuality. To be successful, brands will need to stand for something in their customers’ minds and find niches and that will either fit a particular consumer or not. Target has stayed ahead of this trend by starting to segment their home brands. Each one has a different voice. They’re not trying to offer the widest selection and be all things to all customers. I think it’s a really smart move.”
“Overall, the structure and sentiment of recent design trends hasn’t changed much. We see a slow evolution as opposed to revolutionary change.”
“Consumers have come around to the realization that they should be more self-reliant. The pandemic reminded them that they have forgotten how to do things that are basic”.
“It’s not good enough anymore for a company to not use child labor or stop supporting toxic working environments. It’s becoming a deeper and more difficult conversation about materials and practices.”