mid-century modern coffee table

Brits spend 38 days researching furniture buys

Survey reveals the top 10 home furnishings that cause 'purchase paralysis'

By Victoria Purcell | 24 February 2022

Research has found that British people spend, on average, 38 days researching furniture buys for their home. This ‘purchase paralysis’ is caused by numerous factors, from too much choice to couples with differing tastes.

This article contains affiliate links, from which we earn a small commission if you make a purchase

After surveying 2,000 adults, furnishings website ufurnish.com found that almost four in 10 (38%) feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of products available, while 31% struggle to commit because they think they will see something better at a later date.

Almost a third (31%) blame indecision on a lack of confidence in their interior design capabilities, and a fifth (21%) worry that others will judge their choices (this was particularly true for 18-34-year olds).

A further 36% find furniture shopping a challenge, unable to find pieces that align with their vision, and a difference of opinion among couples can also delay the process, with almost a quarter (24%) admitting they struggle to reach an agreement.

Yet despite the lengthy search process, Brits still forked out £25.5 billion last year alone on furniture and furnishings, according to globaldata.com.

purchase paralysis

Photo: Drobot Dean / Adobe Stock

Lengthy research

The trickiest piece of furniture to buy seems to be the coffee table, with shoppers spending 128 hours on online research and trips to the shops before committing to a purchase.

Coming in second in the purchase paralysis stakes is the dining table and chair set, racking up 85 hours of research. This is closely followed by lighting, such as chandeliers and table lamps, requiring 81 hours of contemplation. And it’s not just big-ticket items causing consternation – even the perfect cushions can take up to 39 hours to find.

Top 10 tricky furniture buys

According to ufurnish.com, the 10 most time-consuming furniture buys, in terms of hours spent searching for them, are as follows:

  1. Coffee table – 128 hours
  2. Dining table and chairs – 85 hours
  3. Lighting – 81 hours
  4. TV unit – 61 hours
  5. Sideboard – 56 hours
  6. Chest of drawers – 55 hours
  7. Sofa – 52 hours
  8. Outdoor furniture – 50 hours
  9. Bedside tables – 45 hours
  10. Wardrobes – 43 hours

Conversely, the five fastest furniture buys, in terms of hours spent searching for them, are as follows:

  1. Throws for beds and sofas – 8 hours
  2. Living room rug – 18 hours
  3. Bookshelf – 27 hours
  4. Armchair – 31 hours
  5. Cushions – 39 hours