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Staying at home is right on trend

Cocooning as a lifestyle

“If we have to stay at home, let’s at least make it a really nice place to be!” COVID-19 has certainly presented the world with unimagined challenges, but it has also given rise to new trends. Cocooning – shutting oneself away in times of crisis – has become a new way of life that has given the furniture industry a sales boost.

Cosy furnishing with the Cocooning Trend

Cosy furnishing with the Cocooning Trend

Cocooning: a new take on an old trend

When the world outside becomes uncomfortable, we retreat inside our own four walls. This behaviour is particularly easy to identify in times of crisis, so it’s no wonder that the term “cocooning” originated in the 1980s, during the Cold War.

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cocooning trend has experienced a real comeback. It’s even being referred to by some as “corcooning”: cocooning in the era of coronavirus. Faced with curfews, social distancing rules or the fear of becoming infected, we can find shelter from the harsh realities inside a cosy home. Just like a caterpillar inside its cocoon.

Slightly different to “homing” and similar trends

The dividing line between cocooning and other home furnishing trends is somewhat blurred. “Homing”, the Danish notion of “hygge”, cosy minimalism and the German concept of “Heimeligkeit” (homeliness) all refer to the idea of recognising that our homes are at the centre of our lives and furnishing them with beauty and comfort in mind.

But, unlike cocooning, homing and so on are not defined by a retreat from society. Social interaction has become more difficult during the era of coronavirus. Short-time working, a lack of leisure activities and changes to holiday plans have also led to us focusing more attention on ourselves and on our interiors. Our homes have become projects, a counterpoint to the many hours spent working in our home offices and an alternative to the outside world. This has brought structure back into our new everyday lives and given us a sense of control.

Whether alone or with our children, DIY or luxury furniture, big or small budgets, we’ve been pottering about, assembling things and – since the summer – buying things again.

Cocooning Trend: Making the home cosy

Cocooning Trend: Making the home cosy

The ups and downs of the furniture industry

Two trends have therefore been evident in the interiors sector: the lockdown and closure of shops caused sales to plummet almost everywhere in the spring. According to the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM), the turnover of furniture manufacturers fell by 28.7 per cent in April and by 23.3 per cent in May. In the summer – normally a period of rather weak sales – business picked up again thanks to stronger demand and even exceeded the figures for 2019.

The reason? Due to the coronavirus, lots of people had to change their plans and spend their summer holiday at home. In many cases, travel budgets were redirected into investments in home improvements: finally renovating the bathroom, planning the new fitted kitchen, giving some attention to the balcony, buying a swimming pool. In the case of the latter, there were even delivery bottlenecks. And the reduction in value added tax also contributed towards the increase in furniture purchases.

Good outlook thanks to cocooning

But despite all this, at around Euro 8.1 billion, sales in the first half of the year were almost 10 per cent lower than in the same period of the previous year. According to the VDM, the outlook for the second half of 2020 is nevertheless positive – thanks in part to persistently strong online business. The sales forecast is for a moderate 5 per cent decline.

The mood among retailers is also changing. For example, 42 per cent of furniture manufacturers believe they will be able to close the 2020 business year without making a loss. This confidence is also based on the assumption that nothing will change in the near future. According to a study by Accenture, 53 per cent of those surveyed plan to continue working from home – even though they never used to. 69 per cent would like to welcome their friends and family into their home in the next six months – a kind of “social cocooning”.

Will the cocooning trend last?

The cocooning trend is likely to stick around for a while longer. Furniture stores, DIY retailers and manufacturers of furniture and kitchens should be prepared for high demand to continue. Who knows which furnishing items will be more sought-after than usual in the winter months? Whatever happens, comfort will always come first. And with it the desire to have control over at least one part of our lives: a cosy home .

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