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The power of streaming

The Netflix Effect – how TV series are impacting the interiors industry

Netflix has become part of many people’s everyday lives – especially during the coronavirus crisis. And a new phenomenon – the Netflix Effect – reveals how much influence the streaming provider really has. Read on to discover what exactly is behind this and how the furnishing industry can successfully harness this effect.

Smartphone with the Netflix home screen

Smartphone with the Netflix home screen

What is the Netflix Effect?

Netflix has changed things. Gone are the days when linear TV dictated what we watched. For years now we have been able to decide what we watch, and when and where we watch it. It’s not surprising that films and television series are having a growing influence on real life. After all, last year 13 per cent of Netflix subscribers used the streaming service every day, with 29 per cent using it several times a week. Films and series often put the spotlight on social themes that would otherwise have received far less attention.

However, more and more Netflix series are actually setting trends – in the fields of fashion or furnishing, for example. That phenomenon now has a name: the Netflix Effect. As the streaming provider boomed, consumer behaviour changed not only in the area of television – our search and purchase behaviour have changed significantly as well.

Chess, Vans and vintage furnishing: how Netflix shapes trends

The most famous example is probably the Korean thriller series Squid Game. After its release, the series dominated the streaming rankings on the platform in more than 90 countries. Alongside controversial headlines about schoolchildren imitating brutal games from the series, demand for red overalls also shot up. But the real winner was the shoe manufacturer Vans. The company’s sales figures rose by an incredible 7,800 per cent as the classic white Vans Slip-On became an overnight sales hit. And the reason for that? The shoe is worn by all the actors in the series. And Vans shoes are by no means an exception.

Queen’s Gambit, a drama series that follows the gifted young chess player Elizabeth Harmon, sparked a chess boom. Searches for “chess” and “rules of chess” immediately doubled, and sales of chess sets rose by an impressive 1,000 per cent. But it wasn’t just the game of chess itself that experienced an upturn. Check pattern has also undergone a revival since the series was released – first on fashion blogs, then later in the interiors industry too. Furnishings featuring chess-board patterns have recently become a big trend.

Besides Queen’s Gambit, Bridgerton is another series that has been providing viewers with inspiration. The most-watched Netflix drama is set during the London ball season of 1814. The first costumes copied from the series could be seen on social media soon after its release, with corsets being especially popular. Vogue labelled the style “Regency-core”. And the Regency era is also making a return in interior design. Stucco, patterned wallpaper, passements, chandeliers, paintings and fine porcelain: the sets in the drama embody everything we associate with this period from 1811 to 1820. An era that stands for ostentatious style, lots of fabric and tasteful exuberance. While minimalism and naturalness have defined furnishing trends in recent years, vintage furnishing has been in greater demand than ever since Bridgerton.

It should be clear by now how extensive Netflix’s influence on the consumer behaviour of viewers is. Netflix is more than just a streaming service geared towards entertainment. Originally founded as a DVD rental company, Netflix is the global leader among streaming services. The company has 200 million active subscribers, and that number is growing every year. By now, the streaming provider has become a trend radar that companies would be wise not to underestimate.

Statistics on the purchasing behaviour of Netflix subscribers

A target group with spending power: Netflix users are far more likely to buy online than the general population. (Photo: Statista)

What can companies learn from the Netflix Effect?

We are familiar with traditional product placement from linear television. Netflix raises this kind of marketing to the next level. The best example of this is Walmart. The US retail giant entered into a cooperation with the Netflix series Queer Eye to sell modern yet affordable home furnishings. Queer Eye is a makeover format in which five experts help participants to transform their homes and personal appearance – complete with numerous emotional conversations, of course. It’s the perfect blend of subtle product placement and wow-factor after the makeover of the apartment.

TV series create needs and arouse desires. And many viewers follow up on those. In 2021, 49.8 per cent of people who use the video streaming service stated that they ordered products online at least once a month. The corresponding figure for the general population is only 34.2 per cent. As many as 20 per cent of Netflix subscribers stated that they even ordered something online at least once a week. Whether every order can be ascribed to a series or a film seen on Netflix remains of course an open question. However, the figures show that Netflix users consume significantly more than average . And furnishing companies can tap into this potential – especially with the current online-shopping boom in the industry.

Of course, not every company can launch a cooperation with a Netflix series, let alone produce one of their own – that is the ultimate discipline of the Netflix Effect. Yet the streaming service can be extremely useful for all companies as a trend radar. Anyone wanting to design products that go down well with their target group needs to understand exactly what those people are interested in. To find out, it’s worth taking a look at Netflix – and other streaming services – to broaden the view. Which series are trending right now? What are those series about? Looking at trending films and series, or at Google Trends, can reveal potential crazes. And if companies examine these more closely, they could become frontrunners in the Netflix Effect.

Success with Netflix advertising

The Netflix Effect exemplifies the change in consumer behaviour. Traditional advertising on linear television is no longer enough to reach the next generation of potential customers. Young people in particular are increasingly influenced by social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. Netflix could now become the next big thing when it comes to marketing.

Whether they are interested in a product placement or a cooperation, companies should, however, establish in advance where and in what context the design product is placed. Otherwise the advertising measure could quickly backfire, as Peloton learned to its cost. The company’s share price plunged after one of the main characters died on one of its exercise bikes in the first episode of the reboot of the hit series Sex and the City. This shows that the Netflix Effect should not be underestimated – and when properly applied, it can become a very successful advertising channel.

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