Walmart Muscles In On Ikea, Wayfair's Turf

Anyone wondering how many mid-century modern coffee tables America needs is going to have to recalculate, with Walmart announcing a major push into the mid-tier furniture market.

Called MoDRN and sold only online, it includes 650 pieces in three collections: Retro Glam, Refined Industrial and Scandinavian Minimal. Sofas go for less than $900, and dining tables are priced under $700. That puts the line in direct competition with such brands as Wayfair, Ikea and the Williams-Sonoma-owned West Elm.

Walmart says it based the decision to launch the collection in response to a 35% jump in visits to its online home store. And it’s offering items with materials most people won’t normally associate with the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, including velvet, leather, Carrara marble table tops, exotic veneers and solid oak and walnut pieces.



The introduction comes at a time when America is stepping up its furniture-buying habits, especially online. Wayfair continues to post nearly stratospheric gains and recently announced that during the five-day Black Friday holiday period, sales soared 58%. And for its most recent quarter, revenues at all its brands, including Joss & Main, AllModern and Birch Lane, climbed 43% to $1.7 billion.

And in its most recent quarter, Williams Sonoma says West Elm sales climbed 8.3%.

Furniture has been one of the last holdouts against ecommerce, with only 11% of U.S. internet users saying they prefer to buy furniture digitally, according to eMarketer.

But that’s changing fast. EMarketer says U.S. ecommerce sales of furniture and home furnishings hit $50.32 billion in 2018. And while that accounts for just 9.6% of total retail e-commerce, it still represents the fastest growth among product categories eMarketer tracks, at 18.2%.

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