The Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK homeware brands has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK homeware brands perform across the digital space.
The latest Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK Homeware brands has just been published. It covers the largest 12 national homeware brands, including Dunelm, Oak Furnitureland, DFS, The Range, Robert Dyas, Sofology, Wayfair, SCS, Furniture Village, Wilko, B&M and The Sofa & Chair Company - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other homeware brands to win brand exposure, generate online orders, and drive in-store footfall. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each brand based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. For e-commerce sites that have regularly rotating stock, such as homeware brands, they'll want to ensure any updates to product lines or stock levels are reflected within their internal linking strategy, and that potential customers are being directed to similar products, or other relevant pages, when a page is removed.
Compared to other e-commerce sectors we specialise in, homeware brands are generally great at keeping on top of error codes and ensuring customers aren't being directed to dead ends. In Q2 of 2022, our audit on The Range found 2,664 4xx errors on their site, representing a lot of dead ends for customers. A year on, and The Range have shown only 216 4xx errors. Though brands ultimately want to reduce this figure to as low as possible, this is a fantastic improvement and will reflect well in their site's user experience.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. For highly-visual sites, such as those within the homeware space, they'll need to strike a fine balance between showing their products off and ensuring any images and video content is well-optimised and doesn't slow page load times.
An 'okay' score for mobile page speed sits between 50-89. When we first started reporting on our specialist sectors, we found that very few sites were hitting these benchmarks. However, we are now seeing more and more brands take steps to improve page speed performance, including within homeware. While none of the twelve brands were achieving an 'okay' score initially, Dunelm, B&M and The Sofa & Chair Company are all scoring within this range, with scores of 57, 51, and 62. Though we can see improvements from our other brands, there is still some way to go for them to reach the 'okay' benchmark (or, indeed, the 'good' benchmark of 90).
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, ie. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. For homeware brands, their biggest opportunities to grow Domain Authority lie in collaborating with online publications within their niche, along with interior design and lifestyle bloggers with high authorities themselves.
Domain authority is considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. ‘Good’ DA score depends on the competition level of the industry. However, a ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing. Interestingly, we have seen no change at the top and bottom ends of the scale over the past year, with Dunelm still scoring a DA of 73 and The Sofa & Chair Company scoring a (reasonable) 40.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. For homeware brands, they'll not only want to monitor to popularity and profitability of particular lines as the cost of living crisis makes its impact, but should also be mindful of how trending products on social media might impact what consumers are searching for.
Though in 2022 we discovered SCS were the only brand gaining mobile traffic, Oak Furniture Land is now the only brand to be gaining mobile search traffic year on year, with a very nominal increase of 1%. Though these reductions in traffic are universal, pointing to a shrinking customer base, brands should be mindful of how much their traffic is falling when compared with competitors.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a brand can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. 'Image' and 'Reviews' results would be particularly useful for homeware brands, who could use the opportunity to show their products from the SERP itself, and gain trust with consumer reviews.
'Reviews' have remained a popular choice with our homeware brands over the past year, as Wilko have remained in the lead with 101,700 results. However, 'Local Pack' results appear to be being put to good use by B&M who have secured 4,600, the most of any brand. 'Local Pack' presents the opportunity for brands to drive footfall to their bricks and mortar stores, and B&M's optimisation for this feature is a wise move that bridges their online and offline activity.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for brand-new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Homeware brands can use longtail keyword strategy to optimise for terms which, while they may be low-traffic, have high conversion potential.
Wayfair are ranking in the top three for 70,410 longtail keywords - a huge number of search terms showing buying intent. In fact, of the 517,293 longtail keywords Wayfair has ranked for, 60% of these have sat within the top twenty results, and 40% in the top ten. Wayfair are vastly outperforming competitors in this metric, and have solid foundations to improve performance here even further.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.
We've highlighted a selection of Sofology's ads below. Sofology have used lifestyle images to show their products in 'real' settings, and have tapped into a range of design trends to broaden their ads' appeal. They've ensured they're using bespoke copy for each image, though could take this further by A/B testing different versions of copy, to narrow down best practices for their ad tone of voice.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your brand engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. In a sector which sees many trends come and go, homeware brands have an ever-changing bank of seasonal inspiration they can draw on to develop an extensive content strategy.
Facebook and Pinterest are UK homeware brands most-used social platforms for sharing content and, with Pinterest's built-in shoppability features, this provides brands within the homeware space the opportunity to be present straight from the inspiration phase of the buying cycle, and be front of mind when customers come to purchase. Dunelm are securing the most engagements with their content on social media, with a total of 38,334.
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. Though the temptation may be there for homeware brands to choose style over function, they must not underestimate the impact of making their site accessible for all potential customers.
While last year we found that our twelve homeware brands had fairly accessible sites, our recent crawls have discovered 1,936 alerts on B&M's site. B&M must ensure that they are reviewing their accessibility with every site update, and that new features are not negatively impacting any users with disabilities.
Q2 2023 Winners and Losers Summary
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 homeware brands on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q2 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.