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Electric Fireplaces Igniting Furniture Sales Opportunity

The definition of home entertainment furniture has become more expansive as consumers embrace items that do more than just house consumer electronics. The popularity of electric fireplaces is among the more dramatic examples of the evolution and expansion of home entertainment furniture.

For the first time, the annual HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® Home Entertainment Report, featured in the December 14, 2015, issue, has explored consumer perceptions about electric fireplaces and related furniture, and the results suggest the product segment has future growth potential given that younger consumers are most interested in it.

Just under 18% of consumers have purchased an electric fireplace over the past three years, according to the HomeWorld Business study conducted by The AIMsights Group. More consumers who have purchased an electric fireplace at some point have done so as a standalone appliance up to now rather than as a furniture insert, 15.3% versus 19.7%.

Consumers are most likely to cite both aesthetics and heating ability as important when considering a fireplace purchase. In fact, they are slightly more likely, at 22.6%, to rank heating capabilities as important than they are to rank fireplace looks as more critical, at 17.4%.

For future purchasing, a significant proportion of consumers are thinking about buying an electric fireplace and mantel furniture piece, the study revealed, despite the often higher cost versus a standalone appliance, with 16.1% very likely to make a purchase and 26.5% somewhat likely to do so. Similar proportions are thinking about purchasing a furniture console or TV stand with a built in electric fireplace, indicating that many consumers regard an electric fireplace not just as a novel addition to accent a room but as an integral part of a room décor scheme.

Consumers are not necessarily shy about laying down significant dollars for a piece of furniture with an electric fireplace built in. Although the largest proportion of consumers, at 28.3%, would like to pay $100 or less, the second largest echelon, at 19%, would spend $200 to $300.

Younger shoppers may be inclined to consider purchasing an electric fireplace and accompanying furniture piece. Survey respondents ages 19 to 35, basically the Millennials, were most likely to say they had purchased an electric fireplace over the past three years, with 25.9% saying they did so.

In shopping for electric fireplace furniture, consumers overall said the features they found most attractive were remote control followed by infrared heating and time controls. The ability to change flame settings came in close behind as did storage capacities. The ability to mount a flat panel TV followed but still was significant, an attraction to 30.9% of consumers.

For the Home Entertainment Report, see the December 14, 2015, issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®. This issue also features the annual year in review, category by category.