SEOUL, May 7 (Korea Bizwire) — Home furnishing is becoming a popular trend in South Korea, and an increasing number of furniture makers are trying to meet the change in demand by introducing less durable, but more affordable products.
Consumers, who used to purchase expensive but durable furniture for long-term use, are now turning to a new trend of easy price, easy replacement.
Furniture companies are now offering rental services and selling refurbished products to meet customer demand.
Casamia Co., a South Korean furniture brand, recently opened a refurb shop at Shinsegae Premium Outlets in Siheung, where the company sells sofas, closets, and other furniture returned by customers, or used for showcases, at a cheaper rate than the original price.
Bodyfriend Inc., South Korea’s largest manufacturer of massage chairs, renovated its flagship store in Apgujeong last year to sell refurbished products.
Furniture companies are also offering rental services.
Woongjin Co. began offering rental and care services for mattresses in 2011, generating 183 billion won (US$156 million) in sales. The company aims to reach 200 billion won in sales this year.
Hanssem Co., South Korea’s largest furniture company, plans to offer care services for mattresses and kitchen hoods this year, as well as rental services for mattresses.
Experts argue that this is an attempt by furniture makers to meet demand from the increasing number of single-person households as well as the expanding trend of home furnishing.
The companies are also trying to reflect the expanding subscription economy, and consumer sensitivity towards eco-friendly and recycled materials.
“In the past, it was common to think that a piece of furniture, once bought, should be used for a long time. Now, more people want to try out various products at affordable prices,” said one expert.
“Companies are now given new opportunities to create a variety of business models with high potential for sustained income.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)