Insight written by Jill Locondro, originally published on November 2nd, 2021.
‘Sustainability’ is a significant and impactful buzzword heard across all industries. It has endless opportunities within the commercial sector such as Upcycling, a popular sustainable process where waste material is turned into new items. This method is traditionally utilized within the clothing market, however the home furnishing industry has also began to capitalize on this practice. Furniture resale is an emerging space that gives wasted materials or outdated products a perceived intrinsic value after they are transformed into a new product. As consumers become increasingly concerned with the environmental impact of their purchases, the integration of sustainable practices is becoming an important business strategy. With new strategies being implemented, the repurposed furniture market is emerging and could be worth over $16 billion (Business Insider).
The utilization of an existing method of sustainability, upcycling furniture, is a simple way to ensure repurposed pieces are environmentally friendly. The carbon footprint of making furniture is equivalent to flying a Boeing 747 for an hour, emitting approximately 200 pounds of carbon for the manufacturing of a singular piece of furniture. In addition to the environmental benefits, the resale of furniture is a budding trend as repurposed commodities are becoming more popular. The modernization of antiques have an exorbitant cost associated with them due to the originality of the assets. Moreover these pieces are great for interior design.
Aside from the increase in sustainable minded shoppers, online sales and the COVID-19 pandemic have enabled the home furnishing industry to experience tremendous growth. With more and more individuals working from home, consumers’ habits have shifted from traditional retail to home purchases such as furniture. Growing 3.5x faster than traditional retail, the furniture resale market grew 60% from 2019 to 2020 (Morning Brew). Additionally the uptake in online sales has enabled further progress in this space as buyers and sellers can easily access the market. The capitalization on sustainability and the shift in consumer preferences is reinvigorating the market and creating interest from rising entrepreneurs.
Jillian is a senior from Rye, New Hampshire. She is a Business Administration major with a dual focus in Accounting and Management. Last semester Jillian studied abroad at Bond University in Gold Coast. This past summer she interned at Bottomline Technologies working on the annual 10-K and SOX Compliance. Next summer she is interning at EY practicing Audit. Jillian considers herself to be an ambitious, motivated, and reliable individual who aspires to pursue a business venture of her own one day.