Fab, the design powerhouse, appears to be going, shall we say, gang-busters in Europe. Figures released to us indicate that design-conscious Europe is becoming a crucial cost center, and may even affect the future direction of the startup that has raised $171m in funding to date.
Some 40% of Fab’s global sales now come from Europe (this figure was 10% in September last year). Out of European sales as a whole, the UK now represents 30% of sales and Germany 50%. Both territories were negligible last year when Fab’s European acquisitions, such as Lustre, were only just being integrated.
European CEO Maria Molland attributes this to a tangible increase in marketing, especially TV advertising and particularly in the UK which is widely recognized as the leading ecommerce market by far in Europe.
“UK consumers are design centric” she told me in an interview, “and we have no direct competitors because we offer multiple categories and price points.” Indeed, Fab is having less trouble with clone competitors than it has with major offline retailers.
The biggest change says Molland is that the site is no longer a flash sales site and is closer to becoming the ‘world’s design store’, mainly via its strategy of partnering with noted home furnishing designers.
Other interesting stats coming out include the news that its apps for iOS and Android now represent 35% of revenue generated in Europe – pointing to what we already known about in the explosion of tablet use.
Following its acquisition of German company Massive Concept, Fab is now producing customized furniture in the European market and owns a physical design show room in Hamburg. FAB “Designed by you” has an average price point of €1,000.
Molland says this points to how they may approach the offline world in the future. “It’s similar to the way Apple did it. We want to do something for design. We’ll try out small cities and add some more.
“The main thing that we have seen develop is “emotional commerce” – capturing attention and then keeping people coming back for more. We think if you own a customer in the whole journey, that they will come back and buy a higher price point like furniture.”
They now have 3.5 million members in Europe with a monthly growth rate of 37%. There are 1 million members in the UK, and 200 employees in Berlin.