Whilst many retailers took a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, homeware brands saw a surge in demand as Brits were instructed to stay at home. In fact, a survey from Made.com revealed that last year during lockdown, 40% of us bought new home accessories during lockdown.
According to this year’s Shop, Live, Look report by John Lewis, UK consumers adapted to lockdown by redesigning their living spaces to make way for home offices and exercise equipment. As many were working and living from home, consumers put time, energy, and money into making these spaces as comfortable, attractive, and convenient as possible. Home decoration and gardening projects quickly became an enjoyable way to spend spare time.
The way consumers were shopping naturally changed during the pandemic, and many retailers realised they couldn’t afford to be in ‘wait-and-see’ mode, so quickly adapted where possible. Fashion retailers Mango and PrettyLittleThing jumped on this, launching their first ever homeware collections. But, as workers return to the office and consumers spend their hard-earned pennies elsewhere again, how can homeware brands maintain the momentum built up during lockdowns?
At The PHA Group, we love helping consumer brands stand out in a crowded market. Here are our ‘top tips’ for how homeware brands can maintain momentum in the post-lockdown world:
Make sure you’re thinking about the wellness of your consumer
One positive fallout from the pandemic is the focus on prioritising wellbeing. As Ikea’s Life At Home report found, making changes to the home can support good mental health: globally, 40% of respondents who felt good about their home in 2021 also saw their mental wellbeing improve over that period.
Aligning your product with wellness trends or showcasing how they enable consumers to take control of their wellbeing is one way to continue drumming up awareness for your brand. Highlighting how your products can support fundamental things like sleep, relaxation, or general work/life balance is one way of capturing potential buyers’ attention.
Raise awareness of new and current product ranges
In a crowded market, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and promote innovative new products quickly and effectively within the media. Where you perhaps have a lack of new products to shout about, there are always round-ups for seasonal moments like Black Friday or relevant ongoing product pages looking for themed content.
At The PHA Group, we use our product placement skills and contacts to secure coverage for our clients in a range of media titles. We’re experts in understanding which platforms will help us successfully reach a brands target audience, whether that’s through the likes of popular TV shows such as This Morning, print and online news platforms like The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph or magazines such as Red or Ideal Home.
Influence your audience
Influencer marketing is an extremely powerful tool, particularly as consumers turn to social media for interiors inspiration. A report by Meta saw a 72% increase in ‘#AD’ content from influencers during the pandemic, and a growing trend of online shopping and reliance on influencers making product recommendations is predicted to have permanently changed consumers’ buying behaviour. Popular retailers like Made.com, H&M Home and Dunelm are just a few of the homeware brands that work with influencers to continue to drive sales since coming out of lockdown.
Influencer collaborations, whether these be paid or earned (unpaid) can help continue to spread the word about your brand and products, reaching current and new audiences. It’s important to have a strategic approach to partnerships, and we work with our clients to identify which approach is best depending on the campaign.
Working with influencers on a gifting basis tends to be a lower-cost activity (as you are just providing the product) but can deliver exceptional results. If you believe in your product and know the right influencers to target, earned content can do wonders for a brand. Paid collaborations allow us to have more control over the content influencers create and is overall more measurable: when paid for, influencers can provide metrics including engagement rates and clicks for their content, allowing us to better see the impact influencer content has had on sales.
Keep up with trends
‘Cottagecore’, Hygge and Goblincore (yes, you heard us right): they’re all interior design trends that have inspired home décor, and always evolving. Making sure you’re up to date with home trends – or even helping to define new ones – is a great way to position your brand as innovative, aspirational and worthy of investment.
As trends start to emerge within the media and online, an ongoing press office strategy can help ensure you’re jumping on any trends as and when they emerge through tactics such as daily news and social media monitoring, targeted sell-ins or pitching engaging feature angles.
At The PHA Group, we live and breathe the media so whether it’s checking out GQ’s ‘Ten coolest things of the Week’, looking into the products that have been in included in this week’s ‘Style List’ in Stylist Magazine or scrolling through home and interior influencers on TikTok, we’re always keeping an eye on trends!
If you’d be interested in discussing how we could support you why not get in touch today.