By Gregg Brockway, CEO and Co-Founder of Chairish
The past two years have dramatically changed the way people shop for home furnishings: where they’re shopping, what they’re buying, and how they’re buying it. While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these changes, shoppers have been faced with problems related to supply chain delays and growing inflation rates. Increasing costs, growing scarcity and delayed purchases only further frustrate customers.
Pre-COVID, the furniture industry already had a “long lead time” challenge. Purchases of newly made items could routinely take up to 8-12 weeks to arrive. With the impact of COVID, the lead time problem was exacerbated exponentially and continues to worsen. The furniture supply chain worldwide still suffers major disruptions due to factory closures, material shortages, shipping limitations, and rising material, labor, and transportation costs. Inversely, vintage items aren’t subject to material or production delays; they already exist and are ready for local pickup or shipping.
Adding to the challenges, consumers today are also faced with inflation reaching a four-decade high. Inflation concerns persist across all spending categories and the cost of goods continue to escalate.
Now more than ever, vintage items are more affordable, accessible and practical when compared to newly made products. The impact of inflation on the home furnishings industry has been particularly pronounced. Prices for all household furnishings jumped 9.3% year over year according to the consumer price index released in January by the US Department of Labor,
Within the furniture and bedding category, living room, kitchen, and dining room furniture in particular have seen prices swell, with an unadjusted increase of 17.3% from December 2020 to December 2021. Though prices for these home goods have increased at a significantly faster rate than inflation, vintage goods aren’t subject to the same economic forces, and the prices of Chairish goods have remained flat.
These combined market forces and consumer behaviors explain why vintage is more popular than ever across the spectrum. In addition to offering the one-of-a-kind, sustainable style that shoppers crave, vintage items are a creative solution to the supply chain and inflation issues plaguing newly made goods. On behalf of the entire Chairish community of sellers and buyers, I invite you to consider vintage when making your next purchase.