The notion of “home” has greater meaning as houses and apartments become the living space, office, gym and school for the more than 97 percent of U.S. residents under stay-at-home orders.
And it shows in recent sales data. If there is any consumer goods category that can come out of the pandemic as a winner, it may be the home goods sector. During the week ending March 21, NPD Group reported that nearly 80 percent of the kitchen electric appliances it tracks showed year-over-year growth, and more than two-thirds grew double-digits as consumers prepared for their new work-from-home lifestyles with items like sandwich makers and specialty coffee makers.
Consumers’ online searches reflect this trend, too. Target, Home Depot and Best Buy—purveyors of cleaning suppliers, DIY materials and at-home entertainment products—had the highest traffic during the month of March, according to SEMrush, a data and trends analytics company.
Now that they’ve spent weeks cooped-up, consumers had even more time to dissect their homes and think about how they plan to update their interiors when the pandemic subsides. In a recent webinar, Fashion Snoops CCO Lilly Berelovich and vice president of home, Jaye Anna Mize, examined how consumers are shifting their focus on home products that offer versatility, comfort and are truly necessary, and how that will play out in Fall/Winter 21-22 product assortments.
“One of the biggest shifts that we’re seeing is that with people being stuck at home, they’re really cleaning out the clutter and it’s being pushed to the forefront in a big way on social media streams,” Mize said. The home office, she added, is one area that brands can capitalize on during this time by offering organizational products and items geared toward work-life balance and flexible living.
But the opportunity is plenty. Here, Fashion Snoops describes three F/W 21-22 themes for home products and what they will mean to the post-coronavirus homebody.
Goodness is Fashion Snoops’ antidote to the chaos that Berelovich said consumers were feeling even before the pandemic. “We were dealing with a lot of uncertainty before like political divides, economical divides… we’ve had a kind of the strain on our psyche as well as our lives, but now everything is extremely intensified,” she said.
For F/W 21-22, a lot of buying decisions are going to be based on an emotion and the comfort of items that feel familiar and protective. “There’s going to be a lot of sense of retro and familiarity,” Berelovich said. “We have been and will continue to crave cozy, feel-good comfort. We’ve seen a tremendous push towards touch and tactility. I think the evolution of materials is going to be crucial going forward.”
In Goodness, home products that offer simple joy will be the most effective. Softness, sweetness and a sense of whimsy will shine through. Designs will encourage connection, and there’s a touch of irony that adds a playful element. Look for objects with fur or feather textures, blob-like shape and other quirky definitions.
“We’re really returning to an imagination state,” Mize said. “We’re creating a playground of possibility where our minds can run wild. It’s a playful comfort that is plush and humorous and it combats the technology overstimulation crisis consumers are going through.”
Ceramics that reference grandma’s curio cabinet and textiles with tried-and-true heritage patterns live here. Elements of the ’60s and ’70s come through arched silhouettes and graphics. “It’s a revival as we see consumers craving old techniques with New Age applications so that they fit into the modern world,” Mize said.
There’s also a shift toward decadence, but not in the number of possessions. “We are overcrowded and cluttered and looking to pare down our routines and possessions,” Mize said. The goal, she noted, is to create a “curated life that is minimal, but no less decadent.”
Objects are comforting, thoughtful, layered and refined. Exaggerated tufting and upholstery add volume and texture, while gold surfaces added subtle luxury. “Overall, we resonate with what feels familiar and intentionally effortless,” she said.
For Edge, Fashion Snoops examined the importance of fear and what fear provides to the creative process. For many, Berelovich said, design has been based on planning, data and logic that has made the decision-making process easy. The pandemic has swept away those safety nets, forcing designers now to “stand on the edge and create with uncertainty,” she continued.
Though it comes with challenges, Edge urges designers to consider what’s beyond the obvious and take empowered risks. “We have the opportunity to really carve some bold paths and make some bold declarations,” Berelovich said.
This pivot in design, Mize said, will be expressed in home products that challenge comfort zones. Here, products with longevity, durability and adaptability thrive. And streamlined essentials with unobtrusive designs gain importance.
“It’s really about breaking down nature and design to its core, and looking at minimalism as an artistic statement,” she said. Harsh shapes feel luxurious as the beauty of natural elements like stone, concrete and metal shine through.
Though the story focuses on essentialism, she pointed out that it doesn’t need to feel basic. “It can feel glamorous and decorative,” Mize said. “It’s more about redefining design to its core purpose and fundamentals to its skeletal frame or origin of shape. Color is a really key driver here, as it creates calm amongst those harsh foundations.”
“I think that we now have this opportunity to be more curious than ever before,” Berelovich said. “I think we’ve all been bogged down with proof and facts and things that we can predict or see very quick clearly, and now we’re starting to understand the importance of allowing our minds to wonder and daydream.”
In Wonder, Fashion Snoops paints a picture that is full of magic, escapism, mysticism and curiosity.
“There’s a desire for the unexpected, and not to be stuck with the mundane,” she said. “We hope that this moment of uncertainty breaks the molds and puts us into a new portal of creativity.”
Wonder is expressed in home goods through products inspired by nature, albeit through the lens of a hyper-real digital reality. “We’re seeing a shift to otherworldly concepts,” Mize said. “Nature is really at the heart of Wonder.”
Biophilic design will intensify this connectivity to the environment, she added. And illusion-driven designs that make people pause to wonder how it was made become statement pieces for the home—a trend Mize said consumers are increasingly seeking.
In Wonder, nostalgia is dragged through the feeling of psychedelia. For instance, to nods ’70s design are splashed with “dreamy Rococo” elements, resulting in an “ethereal world that seems slightly manufactured,” she said.
This fantasy world wouldn’t be complete without a little charm. Glamour and fairytale elements are coming into play through color metallic finishes, fringe and decorative items from the 1920s, but Mize said they are given an upgrade with playful color applications.