Here’s a number to kick things off: 780. That’s three articles a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year—a guesstimate of the stories Business of Home will have published over the course of 2022. That’s a lot of words—but sometimes it’s helpful to cut right to the numbers.
To capture the moment, we collected stats, dollar signs and figures from around the design world. Collectively, they paint a picture of an industry transitioning from three chaotic-but-lucrative years into an uncertain (yet hopeful) future.
The percent that Ikea raised prices on key pieces.
In October, Retail Week found that the Swedish giant had hiked prices as much as 80 percent on key merchandise in the U.K. market, raising the cost of items like the Jokkmokk dining table (which skyrocketed from 99 pounds to 179 pounds over the past year). Though the increases were specific to the U.K., Ikea’s British operation is hardly alone—after two years of supply chain snarls, freight rate hikes and material shortages, brands across the spectrum goosed their prices.
The number of high-profile IPOs in the home industry.
In 2021, 1stDibs, Arhaus and Compass all went public. In 2020, Airbnb hit the stock market. This year, no well-known brands opted to raise money with an IPO (there were a few B2B exceptions, like logistics platform GigaCloud Technology). The dearth of big home industry stock market debuts speaks to a broader cooldown in the market—and to the lackluster performance of recent debutantes, most of which have underperformed. The choppy market conditions leave long-rumored IPOs like Serena & Lily and Houzz waiting in the wings for calmer water.
Material Bank’s valuation, after a $175 million fundraise.
Adam Sandow’s material sampling platform has been on a tear over the past few years, signing up tens of thousands of designers, hundreds of participating brands, and raising absolute mountains of money. This spring, after a $175 million fundraise led by Canadian investment fund Brookfield, the company was valued at $1.9 billion, making it the rare home industry “unicorn” startup. Ahead lie several challenges, including exporting Material Bank to Europe and Japan, and making its economics work for luxury brands on the residential side of the industry.
The number of pages RH devoted to its new collection.
In 2015, RH debuted RH Modern, a collection designed to take the brand to its next chapter. Initially plagued by production problems, it has since grown into a billion-dollar business for the California-based retailer. Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman has pledged that RH Contemporary, the brand’s next huge rollout, will “have a bigger impact on this company than Modern.” The new line arrived this summer, accompanied by a 320-page “sourcebook” (RH lingo for catalog) highlighting designs by Jonathan Browning, Neeru Kumar and John Birch. The influx of new product comes at a pivotal time for the brand, which has put off its long-awaited British debut until 2023.
Kips Bay decorator showhouses since the last New York edition.
For obvious reasons, the 2020 New York Kips Bay Decorator Show House was called off. Since then, interior design’s marquee event has been on hiatus. However, the showhouse’s organizers have done a brisk business in other markets, turning the showhouse into a national brand with annual editions in Dallas and Palm Beach. Thankfully, according to Kips Bay’s website, the New York edition will return in the spring of 2023.
The money set aside for clean energy updates in the Inflation Reduction Act.
One of President Joe Biden’s signature legislative accomplishments was this year’s passage of a bill that will set aside significant funds to subsidize climate-friendly upgrades. The act earmarks roughly $8 billion to offer rebates ranging from $840 to $8,000 to taxpayers who purchase things like electric stoves and new heat pumps.
The percentage drop in luxury home sales this summer.
During the height of the pandemic, the rich got richer and were forced to stay home—you couldn’t imagine a more favorable set of conditions for high-end real estate sales. This year, the other shoe finally dropped, and luxury property took a nosedive, especially in hot markets like California. First the pace of sales slowed, and now prices are taking a hit as well. Bess Freedman, the CEO of luxury brokerage Brown Harris Stevens, recently told The Wall Street Journal that a year ago, high-end real estate was “this huge party with champagne and caviar and everyone was thinking it was never going to end. … Now, it’s like the lights have been turned on.”
The number of United Furniture and Lane employees left unemployed by the company’s implosion.
The dramatic collapse of the American manufacturing powerhouse has made headlines for leaving almost 3,000 employees out of work overnight in late November. However, United/Lane has not been the only company to make cuts this year. Wayfair cut 5 percent of its workforce, or almost 900 employees. Article laid off more than 200. Across the board, home brands who got big during the pandemic’s peak are pulling back.
The number of views on TikTok for the hashtag #cloudcouch.
In fashion, beauty and music, TikTok’s ascent as the social platform of record is old news. This year, home began to catch up, as designers and brands flocked to take advantage of TikTok’s young audience and virality engine. The app is powering real commerce too: According to resale site Kaiyo, after RH’s Cloud sofa went viral on TikTok, searches for the product on its site increased 2,000 percent.
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