Hey FAM, it’s Ray Allegrezza.
Today I’m talking about the mass exodus from the workplace — The Great Resignation — and taking a closer look at not only how it’s affecting the home furnishings industry, but the even greater challenge of why this is happening.
Plus, check out the latest article by Alex Milstein about the challenges and opportunities rent-to-own furniture companies are experiencing and what the future may hold.
And don’t miss our exclusive interview with Overstock.com President Dave Nielsen where he talks about the company’s laser focus on furniture and related goods.
#WIMTY — What It Means To You
Considering that some 48 million Americans quit their jobs last year, it made sense for me to talk about the impact of the Great Resignation and what that means to the home furnishings sector.
Those numbers certainly were a bitter pill to swallow, especially for a sector like ours that has struggled for years to recruit and retain A-grade players.
Now, just as the pandemic seemingly refuses to go away, recent stats from the Department of Labor indicate that the Great Resignation is still grating on the businesses of frustrated employers.
According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Department of Labor, a record 4.53 million workers quit their jobs in March of this year, eclipsing the previous series high of 4.51 million in November 2021.
This mass exodus from the workplace is just one of the challenges facing home furnishings employers.
The second, and even-greater challenge is why this is happening.
Fortunately, a new Harris Poll study, spearheaded by two very sharp executives, Libby Rodney, Chief Strategy Officer, and Abbey Lunney, Managing Director, Thought Leadership, have done the heavy lifting for us.
The study, titled “The Future Of Ambition, Americans Refocus on Prioritizing Happiness and Redefining Success,” is based on a custom survey that was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll between April 7-10, 2022, among 2,121 adults aged 18 and over.
In addition, the company also conducted salon sessions on March 24-25, 2022, which focused on what it means to live a well-lived life,” according to the Harris Poll.
As a company on the cutting-edge of thought-leadership research, Harris has conducted a myriad of studies during the last two years to help businesses understand both those changes as well as changes in consumer mindsets.
What follows is only a partial summary of this comprehensive report. To read the study in its entirety, click here: https://theharrispoll.com/insights-news/reports/the-future-of-ambition/
According to this study, “The way people talk about the last few years sounds as if they were awoken from a distorted reality and fundamentally shifting away from the hamster wheel of burnout culture…”
With that in mind, and as people start to rebuild their lives, the Harris Poll wanted to determine what a “well-lived” life looks and feels like today?
The report identifies three major consumer attitude shifts and points out the ramification and implications that each of the shifts could mean to brands.
Shift #1: Ambition 3.0
As the result of the pandemic drastically reframing employee needs, wants and goals, Americans are recreating their identities away from burnout culture and moving away from corporate culture altogether.
The study said, “Similar to the ‘overview effect’ when astronauts return to earth and have a new awareness of Earth as a tiny, fragile ball of life, we have experienced a cognitive shift that life is fragile and not guaranteed. Even in New York City, rampant with workaholics, the average office worker intends to reduce time in the office by 49%, according to Bloomberg.
Implications For Brands: Consumers confirmed challenges when rewiring their entrenched mentality and, as a result, are looking for new brands and allies that support them in this process.
The Harris study advised that brands can show up by creating new signals, solutions, and supportive structures that reinforce consumers’ emerging return-on-lifestyle goals. As one example, it cited LinkedIn, which now offers a “career break” feature to allow space for non-linear and other diverse work patterns.
Shift #2: Energy Is Today’s Top Currency
Consumers made it crystal clear that you can have all the wealth and influence in the universe, but without the energy to channel it, it’s pointless. Consumers were already shifting their focus from money to time before the pandemic, but now it’s further evolved into energy management.
Not surprisingly, consumers reported prioritizing their energy where it has the maximum impact as well as seeking things outside of work that give meaning to life.
Implications For Brands: The study concluded that “Brands should actively consider their community network effect: who are you building community with, why do they show up, who do you collaborate with, and how do you cultivate it? How do you frequently create space for your audience to build community with your brand? Is there an opportunity to reward people for getting together and connecting?
Shift #3: Life In Beta
For most Americans, the amount of change we’ve lived through in the last year is unprecedented. According to the futurist Jane Gonial, the word “unthinkable” was mentioned over three million times in the news reports in 2020 and 2021.
This continuous shock and disruption have created a resilient consumer base who are more risk-forward, hypermobile, and willing to take bets on themselves.
Pre-pandemic, people expressed to us how they needed to plan, to have laid out options, and to have backup plans for their backup plans. But the pandemic had no rulebook, so people had to figure out what the future looked like moment by moment.
Everyone had to be more flexible and open to change, and it trickled down into how they fundamentally continue to see their future personal, and work lives.
Americans are expanding their mindsets around what is possible and taking swings, jumping into the unknown, and moving across the country to create momentum in stagnant environments.
In other words, they are living a life in beta. This ability to harness intuition, go with one’s gut, live in the messy middle, and survive in less structure will be key to riding the waves of changes that will continue to rise over the next decade.
Ending on a high note, the study concluded that, “Optimism is still at the heart for most Americans, but it manifests differently when compared to the past.”
However, this optimism is less driven by blue sky innovation and more focused on a serious sense of personal responsibility. Rather than the notion that a better future can just happen, today’s optimism is driven by the ability to address reality, wrestle with discomfort and act with integrity, the study concluded.
Mirroring this shift in consumer mindsets, the study predicts a return to more traditional brand values. Integrity, fairness, and humility now outrank flashiness, innovation, and creativity. Americans are looking to brands. to drive meaningful change more than ever before.
Implications For Brands: Brands should actively consider their community network effect: who are you building community with, why do they show up, who do you collaborate with, and how do you cultivate it? How do you frequently create space for your audience to build community with your brand? Is there an opportunity to reward people for getting together and connecting?
Clearly, the Harris Poll confirms that the pandemic has resulted in workers rethinking their lives, priorities and much more.
As you go about the business of actively recruiting new hires keep in mind your employment offer needs to take all these paradigm shifts and changing consumer dynamics into consideration if you want to best future employees to consider working for you.
FAM Furniture Stories
The recent Covid pandemic, inflation, as well as the aging of Millennials raises the questions of whether more people will go for rent-to-own furniture.The FAM’s Alex Milstein spoke with a couple of industry experts to get some answers.
Overstock.com, the online powerhouse launched in 1999, quickly established itself as a source for just about anything under the sun. But as part of a recent and ongoing reinvention, the company now has a laser-sharp focus on furniture and related goods. The FAM’s Ray Allegrezza had a recent one-on-one with Overstock President Dave Nielsen to find out more.
Do you remember Web 1.0? Probably not. But those that do most likely thought it was a fad. But Web 1.0 gave way to Web 2.0, and now here we are with Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and smart computers in our pockets and there’s still more to come. Have you bought in yet? If not, read up on how to can get up-to-date on the future of digital.
In Case You Missed It
Having served as the High Point Market Authority’s president and CEO for eleven years, Tom Conley plans to retire from the position at the end of 2022. Long-time employee and current COO, Tammy Covington Nagem will succeed Conley in the role by unanimous vote of the board of directors.
Conley has led the Market Authority since 2011 and during his tenure High Point Market achieved record marks as it rebuilt from the 2008 economic downturn, built on its momentum to diversify buyer attendance and become more designer-friendly, and navigated a global pandemic, being one of the first large events to return in person after restrictions began to ease.
Tammy Nagem will succeed Conley, assuming the role of president and CEO beginning January 1, 2023. Hired as the second employee at the Market Authority, Nagem has served the organization for over 20 years in various capacities and was named Chief Operating Officer in 2011.
Conley’s final Market is the upcoming Fall 2022 Market, scheduled for October 22-26. Registration will open in late July.
Geniemode, a tech-driven B2B cross-border sourcing platform for lifestyle goods including furniture and home accessories has received $28 million in Series B funding. This new round came within four months of closing $7 million in Series A funding.
Founded in May 2021, Geniemode works with home furnishings buyers in the US and Canada to streamline supply chains that originate in India and Southeast Asia. The company has created a tech platform that ensures end-to-end transparency all the way from product design through delivery. By leveraging AI and big data, the platform offers an insightful, transparent, and hyper-efficient way for businesses to work with the right suppliers.
Within less than a year of inception, Geniemode designed and introduced a fashion-forward furniture line at the High Point Market (IHFC Commerce building) and has established working relationships with 150+ manufacturers as well as many US-based furniture retailers. The company has also deepened its logistics presence in Archdale, North Carolina to provide over 200 in stock SKUs, guaranteed to ship in just two days. Geniemode plans to increase that number to 1000 in next few months. A West Coast DC will open by end of 2022.
Las Vegas Market hotel rates are making significant drops – some more than 50% – as registrations pick up for the July 24-28, 2022 buying event. Managed by Connections Housing, the Las Vegas Market hotel block offers specially negotiated rates at 30 hotels, located in gaming and non-gaming properties from Downtown to the Strip.
Reduced rates are offered at these official Las Vegas Market hotels and casinos:
- Aria Resort & Casino: from $148 (was $218)
- Bellagio Resort & Casino: from $168 (was $218)
- New York New York Hotel & Casino: from $78 (was $148)
- NoMad Las Vegas: from $113 ($193)
- Park MGM Resort: from $88 (was $168) – $78
- Sahara Las Vegas: from $69 (was $99)
- Vdara Hotel & Spa: from $138 (was $208)
Specially negotiated rates are available from 30 properties in the Las Vegas Market room block. Benefits of reserving rooms through the block include no need to pre-pay for booking or sign booking contracts as well as the ability to earn hotel reward points. All partner hotels also are serviced by official Las Vegas Market shuttles which run Saturday, July 23- Thursday, July 28, 2022.
Las Vegas Market attendees who book through the block will be entered to win special incentives including room upgrades or a free hotel stay. One Grand Prize Winner will receive free hotel accommodations for the Summer 2022 Market and Winter 2023 Markets, plus airfare for two to the Winter 2023 Market.
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