21 June 2024, 20:51
By Mikaila Storey Apr 13, 2022

The great sofa search

Although the upholstery market has long been dominated by particular colours, materials and styles, consumer tastes are constantly evolving – to find out which sofas are set to be most in demand this year, Mikaila Storey, writing on behalf of corner and sofabed retailer MSofas, looks at the most frequent searches made through Google and social media, and how these have changed since last year …

We wanted to find out what people were looking for when choosing a sofa, so we studied search data from Google and Pinterest on sofa colours, styles and materials. We looked at how demand has changed in the past year, and which characteristics are likely to be a popular trend in 2022 based on this data.

Colours

In the last few years, coloured sofas have become a huge trend. Shades of pink, blue and green have been particularly popular. Search data tells us that the bold and bright trend is shifting slightly, but isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Despite the growing trend of coloured sofas, grey was still the most searched-for sofa colour in 2021 according to data. However, the number of searches decreased by 18% YoY, possibly showing that more people are stepping out of their neutral comfort zone. 

‘Grey sofa’ also has the most hashtags on Instagram compared to other colours, and grey had the highest number of searches on Pinterest at the start of 2021. This isn’t surprising, as grey was a hugely popular colour in interior design, and was also Pantone’s Colour of the Year in 2021. 

Interestingly, green became the most searched-for colour by the end of the year, backing up the evidence that people are no longer shying away from bold colours – and green and pink sofas are still popular choices. According to Google data, +22% more people were looking for pink sofas in 2021 than in 2020. Pink was also one of the most searched colours on Pinterest throughout 2021 – although search numbers dropped by -4.7% by the end of the year (the ‘millennial pink’ trend became huge in 2017, particularly in interior design, but the trend also crept into fashion, and even food!).

Last year, a staggering +49.5% more people were looking for green sofas YoY. Pinterest data shows green sofas were also one of the most searched-for colours on this platform in 2021, and had the highest number of searches of all colours by the end of the year. 

When it comes to this colour’s popularity, it isn’t strictly on one shade, as it is with millennial pink – sage, mint and forest greens are all as popular as each other. 

The popularity of this colour may have been influenced by the pandemic. Green is a calming colour, which is definitely needed after a few whirlwind years – as well as this, green makes people feel more connected to nature, something we may have lacked over the years whilst being indoors.

Both of these colours were amongst the highest number of hashtags on Instagram, with #greensofa having a total of 33.1k and #pinksofa with 31.2k. Despite the continued popularity of these colours, data shows that search for these colours steadied towards the end of 2021 – whilst these may still be popular sofa options (green in particular), we don’t see them becoming the biggest sofa colours of 2022.

When comparing Google data from the start and end of 2021, we notice that one colour in particular had a huge rise throughout 2021 when compared to 2020 – according to our data, orange sofas are set to be the next big sofa trend of 2022. 

Google data shows that +50% more people are seeking orange sofas than they were in 2021. Searches for orange sofas increased by +85.2% from the start of 2021 to the end, suggesting this is a growing trend. There was also an increase of +31.8% in Pinterest searches from the start to the end of 2021.

Orange was a popular fashion trend last summer, with many influencers wearing the bright colour to show a more fun, creative side. Similarly to green, the pandemic may have influenced people to use orange more in the home as it brings positive, happy, social and fun feelings to an environment. 

Other colours which received an increase in search included yellow and black. Searches for both of these colours increased at the end of 2021, suggesting they may be a trend this year.

Materials

Velvet sofas have been a huge trend in recent years, particularly in 2020. However, according to data, they are reducing in popularity. Pinterest searches for velvet sofas dropped by -40.6% from the start to the end of 2021. Also, yearly Google searches dropped by -18.5% in 2021 – there was a -33% decrease in velvet sofa searches from the start to the end of the year. 

Despite the trend drop indicated by the decrease in search, this material is still very popular – it was the second most-searched-for material in 2021.

There is a range of reasons velvet sofas are so popular. Firstly, it’s seen as a luxurious fabric, with its soft touch and indulgent feel and look, but it’s also an extremely versatile fabric which is easy to look after and clean – making it the perfect choice for all lifestyles.

It’s safe to say that leather sofas are classic, and despite trends coming and going, leather will always be a popular option. This material was the most searched for in 2020 and 2021. Despite the high number of Google searches, it appears that leather sofas aren’t as ‘Pinterest worthy’ – they have the least amount of searches on the platform. However, they are definitely ‘Insta worthy’, with a total of 158k hashtags on Instagram (the highest number of hashtags of all the materials).

Leather is a timeless material and has been around for a long time. Ultimately, it is a more durable than fabric, which is why people may favour it for a long-term investment such as a sofa – and it’s also much easier to clean! Although this material is undeniably popular, we don’t see it being a major trend in 2022, as search volume at the end of 2021 dropped by -18.2% when compared to the start of the year. 

The material with the biggest interest from the start to the end of 2021 is surprising. PU sofas saw a +33% increase in search YoY. Although the overall number of people searching was fairly low, the number of searches at the end of the year compared to the start increased by +150%, showing that people are increasingly intrigued by PU sofas. 

PU is much cheaper than real leather. Also, it doesn’t absorb water, which makes it easier to clean. It’s vegan friendly, and can be made in a range of colours and styles – all of these characteristics may be why PU sofas could be a 2022 trend.

Another material that we see trending in 2022 is wool. In 2021, we saw woollen sofas all over social media, with many influencers and celebrities leading this trend. The average yearly search for woollen sofas went up by +23.8% in 2021, seeing a +52.4% increase from the start to the end of the year – this suggests the woollen sofa trend will continue. 

The increase of woollen sofas may be due to people wanting to be more environmentally friendly – there has been an increase in people opting to use more natural, sustainable materials in their lifestyle (this is certainly the case in fashion and interior design).

Styles

There is a wide range of different sofa styles available on the market today – more than people might think – and, when thinking of the most classic sofa style, what comes to mind? For us, it’s definitely the chesterfield! This has been an extremely popular style for many years and, judging by the search data, this won’t change any time soon. The chesterfield sofa was the most searched-for sofa style in 2020 and 2021. It also had one of the highest number of hashtags on Instagram.

Based on the beginning versus the end-of-year search, we believe that sectionals will be a big trend in 2022 – the data revealed a +21% increase by the end of 2021. We have seen more sectional sofas lately on social media and in interior design – they are extremely practical, perfect for saving space if needed, and look great. 

There are many reasons why sectionals are popular – they’re versatile, create space, and can be set up in multiple ways. They have been out of style for a while, with smaller statement sofas taking over – however, with families spending more time together in lockdown, a need for space may have become more apparent, and more important than an aesthetically pleasing statement sofa.

According to Pinterest data, curved sofas will be the next big thing in 2022. Search for curved sofas increased by +51.9% from the start to the end of 2021. L-shaped sofas have been a big trend in recent years, yet Pinterest data shows that search for this style dropped by -70% across 2021 – this style was the most searched for at the start of the year, and one of the least searched by the end. 

We have seen a rise in more ‘curves’ in general, with many designs used in art and fashion featuring curves. Using curved furniture in interior design brings a more relaxed look to a room. Curves are important for feng shui, as they balance out the flow of a room and bring positive energy. Celebrities also have a huge influence on interior design – Kim Kardashian shared a sneak peek of her curved sofas on Instagram in 2021, potentially influencing the popularity of this style.

The ultimate 2022 sofa

So, what happens if we draw from the above data and take the top-trending result from each category to see what the ultimate trendy 2022 sofa would look like?

According to this data, the ultimate trendy sofa of 2022 could be orange, the material will be PU, linen or woollen, and will be a sectional or curved sofa. In the first instance, the orange paired with PU leather sounds questionable. However, we often see tan or burnt orange leather sofas which look great, so we feel this sofa could look good in the right home!

Judging by all of the above, we certainly think that we’ll continue to see bold, bright colours, more practical materials being chosen and interesting styles featured in 2022.

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