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The pandemic is changing how people shop for furniture

Ikea is known for its affordable, design-forward furniture. But the short-lived Swedish wares aren’t exactly eco-friendly. While Ikea is hoping to combat it’s sustainability problem with a bevy of green initiatives—including a new buyback program, which will offer store credits to those looking to get rid of their used furniture in 27 countries—people are already filling their spaces with more sustainable alternatives.

Since the pandemic started earlier this year, some have used their time indoors to redecorate. The supply and demand of home goods has caused the furniture resale market to surge. According to Vox, sites like Facebook Marketplace have seen furniture listings increase by nearly 100 percent since April. While AptDeco reports that listings of furniture have nearly tripled since May.

In cities like New York, furniture buyers have even taken to the streets to find discounted and free decor left on stoops. The trend has been fueled in part by the Stooping NYC Instagram page. The account has gained more than 100,000 followers since it launched in August 2019 thanks to the coronavirus-inspired exodus happening in the Big Apple. Now, cities like Philadelphia and Richmond have joined with their own stoop pages. These wallet-friendly alternatives have become even more popular, as young people are hit hard by 2020s economic downturn.

With the pandemic changing how many furnish their homes, some wonder how it will impact furniture retailers.

“Unlike fashion, where people buy a lot of apparel items in any given year, furniture is purchased more infrequently — so if you buy a dining room table via resale, you’re not likely to go out and buy another one anytime soon from a retailer,” Neil Saunders, a retail analyst and the managing director of GlobalData Retail, told Vox. “This is one of the reasons why players like IKEA are looking more seriously at resale...”

Ikea’s new program, which is launching on Black Friday, is designed to combat excessive consumption. While it’s a step in the right direction for the furniture industry, it won’t be available in the US. With growing options for scooping up designer pieces at a major discount and keeping them from ending up in a landfill, it’s going to be hard for furniture retailers to keep buyers from the stoops.