Last updated: Visual search in home decor: Seeing huge growth potential

Visual search in home decor: Seeing huge growth potential


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More and more consumers are becoming proactive home décor shoppers who get an endless supply of inspiration online.

With varying degrees of home décor vocabulary, what if a consumer has a mental image of what they want, but no vernacular to express it?

Home decor: A growing industry worldwide

The home décor industry was worth 582 billion dollars in 2017, according to Research and Markets. Thanks to rising income levels, recovering real estate industry, and increasing globalization, it’s projected to exceed 741 billion dollars by 2023, with a CAGR of around 4% during 2018-2023.

Since consumers want to understand the look and feel within a decorated space, the online segment of the home décor and furnishings market has recently been picking up the pace. In 2018, furniture and home furnishings made 65.1 billion dollars in US e-commerce revenue, with projections to reach 100 billion dollars in 2022.

The market is expected to account for 14.4% of total retail e-commerce sales in 2023.

Building consumer trust is changing consumer behaviors

One of the primary barriers in home décor and furnishings online is consumer trust. However, with a wide variety of choices, being able to shop when it’s convenient, and attractive return and exchange policies, consumer trust in online home decor has improved. In fact, e-commerce first home décor retailers Wayfair and Overstock have experienced consistent growth since being founded in 2002 and 1997, respectively.

Other key factors in the growth of online home décor and furnishings market are social media and visual inspiration. According to Pinterest, 60% of its users have used the social visual network to make decisions for home décor purchases. There are at least 2.3 billion home décor saves per year and 11 billion home décor-related Pins on the platform.

Moreover, the top 15 most influential Home & Garden Instagram business accounts (except crafts) have a combined total of around 44.3 million followers. A quick hashtag search of “homedécor” and “interiordesign” results in an estimated 116.5 million posts.

Not only are consumers finding inspiration and motivation to buy through visual cues online, but they’re also gearing toward making their space as personal as possible. Therefore, retailers need to be ready when consumers start looking for products and provide exactly what they are looking for—from the small detail of a Spanish chic mantlepiece to the big detail of giving off a calm Nordic mood.

Expanding growth with visual search in home decor

How can retailers assure that consumers get exactly what they’re looking for, and that their personal preferences don’t get lost when they start furniture shopping? Visual search.

Giving consumers the power to search with their camera app or gallery of screenshots and photos means they no longer face the barrier of limited words to translate their inspiration.

Visual search so greatly enhances the shopping experience of consumers that out of 12 million global respondents, 31% chose home décor as the retail category they use visual search for the most (after apparel). According to Accenture, 63% of consumers would consider shifting at least half their purchases to retailers offering image commerce. Therefore, makes sense that 84% of retailers “see image commerce as important or very important to their future success.”

Deloitte and Gartner confirmed the increasing demand with an estimated Image Recognition Market of almost 39 billion dollars and a projected 30% increase in digital commerce revenue for early adopter brands by 2021, respectively.

Delivering exceptional home décor shopping experiences with visual AI

Consumers expect ultra-personalization, interconnectedness, and hyper-efficiency from retailers. Using visual search, home décor and furnishings retailers get to deliver these experiences both in the online and offline worlds, and eventually stay ahead of an increasingly competitive market.

Ultra-personalization: Visual search enables retailers to provide consumers with visually similar products to what they are looking for. A shopper looking for a walnut-base, upholstered black Chandigarh chair no longer need to break down the design details on the search bar. Using only an image, retailers conveniently show results that visually match the shopper’s vintage-style preference.

Interconnectedness: Visual search connects retailers to consumers across channels from online to offline, and from social media to browsers. With quick access to retailers’ websites, consumers easily explore and find products they are interested in.

For instance, a shopper comes across a Valentine Seaver era-inspired sectional while window shopping, but wants to check online if there is a more affordable alternative. With just a photo or even a keyword search, retailers populate the visual search results with their inventory, easily showing the shopper the exact furniture and visually similar options with corresponding prices, product reviews, shipping fees, and more.

Hyper-efficiency: Visual search allows retailers to deliver what consumers want—fast and at scale. Gone are the days when consumers have to hop from one retailer website after another, and open multiple tabs to view each category, print, and style. With visual search coupled with other visual AI solutions, retailers empower consumers with intuitive visual navigation and social visual content ideas that contextualize the furniture and eventually encourage them to buy.

Home décor and furnishings are a booming industry with a lot of potential for growth due in part by the increasing number of young consumers and homeowners that are visual, social, and digital. To be at the forefront of change, retailers have visual search to deliver fast, convenient, and personalized shopping experiences that consumers want. With an image and a few taps, consumers no longer have to find the right words to explain what they have in mind, and retailers have the power to directly engage with high-quality, revenue-generating opportunities both online and offline.


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