Furniture Market Grows with Consumers
More than one in three Americans are classified as obese
by the American Medical Association and a growing number of manufacturers and
retailers are marketing upsized furniture for the plus-size crowd.
As a Daily
Finance article points out, big-and-tall shops and plus-size
stores have found a profitable niche that furniture marketers are hoping to
tap into. According to the piece, armchairs in the U.S. typically measure “20
to 26 inches in width, perfect for a slender frame, but too small for many
customers nowadays. Meanwhile, dining room tables, beds and other standard
furniture pieces are often too short, too narrow or too flimsy for plus-size
While the need may be there, marketing to this consumer segment can
be tricky. Some companies such as OversizeFurniture.com dispense with subtlety
while the Living XL website prefers to alleviate “discomfort, frustration and
consumers who need more space. Another e-tailer, Brylane, offers a large selection
of chairs for “Plus-Size Living.”
Many mainstream merchants including Crate
and Barrel, Ethan Allen, J.C. Penney, La-Z-Boy and Pottery Barn also sell plus-size
furniture. “Sleeper chairs” and “chair-and-a-half” are
terms used for bigger furniture without crying out they are built for those
going through life on the large side.
Discussion Questions: Do you see a sizable opportunity
for furniture designed for big-and-tall consumers? What do you think are the
keys to marketing and merchandising this furniture?