Furniture sales start strong in 2021 with double digit growth

WASHINGTON – Furniture sales continued to climb in January, starting 2021 off strong with double-digit growth year-over-year and month-over-month.

Bringing in a total of $11.35 billion in January, according advance estimates from the Department of Commerce’s monthly report on retail sales, furniture and home furnishings store sales totals were up 12% from December 2020’s adjusted $10.14 billion total, which was originally set at $10.11 billion in last month’s report, and up 11.7% from January 2020.

Similarly, for the three month period of November 2020 to January 2021, totals were up 36% year-over-year and up 1.7% when compared with August-October of last year.

Year-over-year growth in the furniture and home furnishings store category may reflect ongoing consumer demand in the category and interest in home-related projects as people spend more time at home, also seen in the continued year-over-year growth of sectors like building material and gardening equipment. Month-over-month, new stimulus check roll outs at the beginning of the month and upcoming tax returns may have brought out more shoppers, as discussed by several retailers at the end of 2020.

Whatever the cause, those strong home furnishings results matched the overall month for most U.S. retail and food services sales sectors, with total sales for the month coming in at $568.2 billion, a 5.3% increase from the previous month and a 7.4% increase year-over-year. Retail trade sales alone also fell into the same pattern, up 5.1% from December and up 10.8% from January 2020.

Looking at top performing sectors for January, furniture and home furnishings store sales took home the third largest month-over-month increase, beaten out by department stores, a subset of general merchandise stores, up 23.5%, and electronics and appliance stores, up 14.7%.

Year-over-year, non-store retailers took home top marks, seeing a 28% increase, followed by sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores at a 22.5% increase and building material and gardening equipment, up 19%.

This month, none of the sectors saw sales fall month-over-month. Year-over-year, though, five dropped, with food services and drinking places taking the hardest hit, falling 16.6% from January 2020. This was followed clothing and clothing accessories stores, down 11.1%, and gasoline stations, down 7.8%.

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