Rocket Internet wants 5rooms to own SA furniture market

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We’ve mentioned online furniture sales outfit 5rooms previously. It’s part of German startup incubator Rocket Internet’s stable of South African ecommerce sites, but it hasn’t had the same kind of exposure as the likes of shoe and fashion outlet Zando. That all looks set to change.

Memeburn got its hands on site’s pitch book, which claims that the company was “established to become the market leader among South African furniture retailers”.

It claims that its position within the Rocket Internet network, which comprises over 38 companies operating in 58 countries, will help it achieve this goal. Having several hundred million Euros and a team of 40 “industry experts” can’t hurt either.

Thing is, it doesn’t exactly seem like the site’s targeting the shopper on a tight budget. 5rooms highlights the fact that it offers products from a number of South African designers including Carrol Boyes, Helon Melon, Liam Mooney, Made by Seb, Dark Horse, Jared Odell, Guideline, O.D.E, Cara Saven photography and Baby Belle.

If you’re looking for something with a little more international flair, you can also get pieces from the likes of Joseph Joseph, Bugatti, Bodum, Ballarini, Cafitality, Dauphin, De’ Longi, and Victorino.

The site’s design is based the template used on some of Rocket Internet’s other sites including German online furniture outlet Home24.de and fashion outlet Zalando.

5rooms claims that over 500 brands have chosen to sell their products through Home24.de “in order to benefit from Home24’s expertise in online marketing and customer service”.

Judging by the pitch booklet, 5rooms is also promising suppliers the same kind of multi-channel advertising that thrust Zando into South Africa’s consciousness. Get ready for a barrage of ads online, in print and on TV then.

It is however banking on a couple of uncertains in its quest for furniture dominance: That the South African ecommerce market will carry on growing and that people in that country will start buying a lot of furniture online.

The first isn’t such a bad bet. After all, MasterCard reckons that the market will grow by 40% in 2012.

The second is a little more complicated. At the moment, 5rooms estimates the total South African retail furniture market to be worth R32.8-billion. Were South Africa to experience a similar growth curve in online furniture sales to Western Europe (between three and five percent), that portion of the market could be worth between R2-billion and R3-billion.

For an emerging market country with a divided economy, that’s still a pretty big if.

The company hopes to have over 10 000 products online by August.

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