The effects of digital trade on the Home & Garden industry: trends, case studies, and more

Home & Garden industry trends

Ecommerce has become a major influence in many industries over the past few years, and the Home & Garden industry is no exception. Here is a quick look at a few trends in international trade that are currently shaping the Home & Garden industry:

  • The global home furnishing market was valued at US $1 trillion in 2020
  • There are three main Home & Garden categories: cost-effective/budget-friendly, high-quality, and specialty items
  • The B2C ecommerce home furnishing industry is expected to be valued at US $101.65 billion by 20241
  • Demand for home office equipment and home furnishing increased as a result of the pandemic2
  • The global economy bounced back from COVID-related recessions faster than previous global recessions3
  • Merchandise trade broke records in Q1 of 20214
  • Experts suspect that the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will influence the continued recovery of the economy5

To summarize these points, international trade has certainly bounced back after a very brief recession that was sparked by the pandemic. There continues to be a higher demand for goods than services, but this is positive news for the Home & Garden industry.

Lifestyle Home & Garden trends


The Home & Garden industry is heavily influenced by trends and styles that revolve around lifestyle. Let’s take a peek at a few lifestyle-influenced trends in the Home & Garden industry:

  • The top styles of Home & Garden products include classical luxury, luxury quality, fashion avant-garde, minimalism, natural serenity, individualism, and smart home
  • The industry offers massive opportunities for creative home design and one-stop shops for home furnishing
  • Some key product categories include home storage, home decor, and coffee/tea supplies
  • Seasonal/holiday-specific items are hot
  • Fun at home, sweet home, and cozy home are three main aesthetics/atmospheres that are considered stylish
  • Gardening on a small scale in living spaces is on the rise

These lifestyle-focused trends are likely influenced by the increased amount of time at home over the past year. It will likely continue to change and evolve with time as circumstances change.

Pandemic-related trade challenges


The need to self-isolate throughout the pandemic made it nearly impossible to conduct business as usual. In-person meetings, operations, and events were shut down and many businesses were forced to move online fast.


However, the digital shifts to accommodate buyers and sellers when in-person interaction was impossible may be here to stay. The convenience and cost-effectiveness of buying and selling online are unbeatable. 


With digital trade, geographic location becomes less important, and physical borders are knocked down. Suppliers and retailers can connect with partners around the world without having to spend time and resources on travel. 


This benefits both parties. Sellers can reach exponentially larger audiences, and buyers are not limited to local suppliers.


Although the pandemic pushed towards digitalization and has revolutionized cross-border trade, there are a few notable challenges that are worth mentioning. These include cost, quality, and delivery.

Cost

The pandemic has caused shortages of raw materials, which in turn, has caused an increase in costs.6 This ties into disruptions in production and increased demand for certain goods.


An increase in the cost of raw materials leads to an increased cost of production. Manufacturers and wholesalers are forced to either significantly raise their prices or absorb some of the costs.


Some of the worst shortages were among products including paint, adhesives, resin, and polyurethane foams. Since these are used in many products and a lot of types of packaging, this has posed a cost issue in many industries.

Quality

The pandemic put most of the world into a state of emergency. Unfortunately, the emergency production of a lot of goods has created quality issues across the board.7


The reason that rapid emergency production causes quality challenges is that speed and quantity become the focus. As the demand for specific products rose, manufacturers did the best that they could to create the supply to meet that demand.

 

Delivery


Peculiar circumstances brought on by the pandemic led to a decrease in the supply of freight and an increase in demand. 


Did you know that the majority of air cargo is shipped on passenger planes? Travel restrictions greatly decreased the number of available commercial flights, which caused an equal decrease in the supply of air cargo space.


Additionally, there was a spike in demand for shipping by boat due to an extended holiday shopping season in retail at the end of 2020. Businesses tried to space out the holiday rush to maintain social distancing in stores. 


Although the goal of this extension was to space things out, the stores became busier than ever and needed to continuously stock their shelves. Ships, especially traveling from Asia to North America, could not make the trip fast enough to keep up with the need. Once again, the demand was higher than the supply.


These shifts have led to an increase in freight costs and some delivery delays.