Furniture delivery booms as better services meet demand

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Furniture delivery booms as better services meet demand

Hyundai Livart workers deliver a table. [HYUNDAI LIVART]

Hyundai Livart workers deliver a table. [HYUNDAI LIVART]

 
Furniture companies are upping their delivery game, getting dining sets and sofas to homes the day after purchase. With people cooped up, Covid-19 is changing the landscape for delivery, and the trend has made its way far beyond groceries and pizza.  
 
Hyundai Livart announced Thursday it would offer overnight delivery for all of its furniture, including sofas, tables, drawers and mattresses, to all customers in the Seoul metropolitan area. Last October, the company started offering fast delivery for sofas only.
 
Any orders placed via Livart’s website and brick-and-mortar stores before noon can be delivered the next day, and at a time requested by the customer. The service is not offered to kitchen furniture or built-in cabinets that require measurements beforehand or construction work. Dishes and lighting are excluded as well.  
 
An early pioneer in improving furniture delivery was Hanssem. In July last year, the company started offering delivery on dates designated by the customer for purchases made on its online website. For a limited range of products, like bookshelves and drawers, residents in Seoul, Gyeonggi and Incheon were able to choose overnight delivery.  
 
Even Coupang strengthened service for furniture delivery last year. In September, the company went as far as offering installation services, where it sends large-sized furniture and workers to assemble purchases, the next day of purchase    
 
Coupang’s advantage is that its overnight delivery covers all of Korea, including islands and mountains. The e-commerce leader partnered with Howser, a company that specializes in furniture delivery. All additional costs, like using the ladder car, are covered by Coupang.  
 
Demand for furniture and home decoration has surged over the past year as consumers stayed home. As with every other consumer product, online purchases jumped as well due to social distancing measures. According to Statistics Korea, online furniture purchase soared 43.5 percent on year in 2020, nearing 5 trillion won ($4.46 billion) in sales. In 2019, the on-year growth rate in the segment was 10.8 percent.  
 
To meet the demand surge, furniture companies are increasing investments in logistics infrastructure, enlarging storage capacity and hiring staff.  
 
Hyundai Livart opened the Livart Smartwork Center in June last year, where four floors of a five-floor building are used for logistics. The establishment, which cost Hyundai 139.5 billion won, doubled the company’s warehouse capacity in the country to 144,000 square meters (1.56 million square feet) from the previous 72,000 square meters.  
 
“Thanks to the new logistics center, our daily capacity of furniture delivery increased 2.3 times,” said a Hyundai Livart spokesman. “For the overnight delivery service, we increased the workforce for delivery and home installations by 10 percent and established a task force dedicated to logistics with around 20 staff.”  
 
Hanssem expanded its logistics center in Siheung, Gyeonggi, when they started the online delivery service. Combining all of its 13 logistics centers, the company has a capacity of around 91,000 square meters. The number of home installation staff also increased threefold to meet overnight delivery needs.
 
There are already signs that overnight furniture delivery will likely increase in the near future. According to Hyundai Livart, 40 percent of sofa buyers living in the Seoul metropolitan area wanted overnight delivery. Three months ago in October last year, that figure was 22 percent.  
 
BY KIM KYUNG-MI, SONG KYOUNG-SON   [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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