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Key Statistics & Trends in the U.S. Furniture & Fixtures Industry

Posted by IndustrySelect on Wednesday, March 20, 2024

 Key Trends & Statistics in U.S. Furniture Manufacturing

U.S. furniture manufacturers have had their ups and downs. The pandemic wreaked havoc with the supply chain. Material and labor costs rose. As a sales professional, you know the importance of online sales. Furniture and fixture businesses were slower than many other industry segments to embrace web-based opportunities.

Thus, as patronage among brick-and-mortar sellers dwindled, furniture builders had limited outlets for their products. Fortunately, the industry is showing signs of rebounding.

Exclusive Statistics on the U.S. Furniture & Fixtures Industry

For indications of improvement, you can look at job growth. Employment rose from 28,077 to 28,298, an increase of 0.08%. This is a small change but an encouraging one in a tight labor market. Average sales for the past year were $107 billion. Ownership of furniture and fixture manufacturing companies is much like that of the rest of manufacturing. Women and minority-owned businesses are at 2% and 1%, respectively, the same as for manufacturing.

The furniture and fixture industry imports 15% of its materials, compared to 11% for all manufacturing. Domestic distribution is limited, at 4% compared to 70% for total manufacturing. Few furniture and fixture manufacturers are publicly owned, 4% compared to 5% for all manufacturing.

The most significant geographic center for furniture production is the South, with 33% of companies located there. However, you can find furniture and fixture producers throughout the country, with 28% in the Midwest, 19% in the Northeast, and 19% in the West. These businesses encompass five subindustries.

Breaking it Down: Key Facts on Furniture Subindustries 

You will find unique challenges and opportunities in each of these furniture manufacturing segments.

Household Furniture

Household furniture and related products segment includes furniture, mattresses, window blinds, and fixtures. A variety of processes and skills go into making these products.

Workers bend metal, shape and cut wood, and extrude and mold plastics. The companies require materials and equipment to accomplish these functions. They also need skilled labor. Fabrication is only part of the production of these products. The manufacturers also need designers. This sector offers a promising prospecting field if you can fulfill these needs.

Office Furniture

This subindustry comprises office furniture manufacturers, store furniture, and store fixtures. They produce stock and custom products. These may be marketed as fully assembled or in knockdown forms designed for more efficient storage and shipping.

If you sell packaging supplies, these companies could offer opportunities.

Public Buildings and Related Furniture

The companies in this sector manufacture furniture for:

● Schools.

● Theaters.

● Assembly halls.

● Churches

● Libraries.

The products include:

● Benches for public buildings.

● Wood blackboards.

● Portable bleacher seating.

● Portable folding chairs.

● Church pews and other furniture except for stone or concrete.

● School furniture except for stone or concrete.

● Seats for vehicles and public conveyances.

● Stadium seating.

Manufacturers require a wide array of materials, offering you various sales opportunities.

Furniture-Related Partitions and Fixtures

The partitions and fixtures sector deals with items such as partitions, shelving, lockers, and office and store fixtures. Picture an office full of cubicles, and you will get the idea. Accountants often refer to these as part of FFE, an abbreviation for furniture, fixtures, and equipment. These products are portable, with no permanent connection to the building. They include desks, chairs, tables, and partitions. Such items often need replacement over time, creating new business for manufacturers and suppliers.

Miscellaneous Such as Drapery Hardware, Window Blinds and Shades

These products include blinds and drapes and the equipment necessary to hang them. Examples are:

● Venetian blinds.

● Vertical blinds.

● Curtain rods, poles, and fixtures.

● Drapery rods, poles, and fixtures.

● Slatted porch shades.

● Window pulls.

● Window shades.

● Window shade rollers and hardware.

This subsector may contain prospects if your company offers packaging and shipping materials for similar products.

Trends and Outlooks in the U.S. Furniture & Fixtures Industry

As with many manufacturers, the furniture and fixture industry has its pain points. The industry's reasonably recent history in North Carolina presents an unfortunate example. Many regard North Carolina as the world's furniture capital.

In the ten years between 1999 and 2000, the industry there went downhill fast, losing more than half its jobs. The culprit? Competition from China. Tariff barriers that fell in 1999 opened the floodgates to bargain-priced furniture. The story holds a strange irony. China undercut North Carolina like the state's furniture makers had undercut competitors in New England and Michigan.

Still, whereas COVID-19 complicated everything from obtaining materials to maintaining a workforce, it opened up new markets. Suddenly, homebound consumers began nesting, looking for higher-quality items to improve their working and living quarters. The furniture industry began to see resistance to imported goods of questionable quality. Sadly, manufacturers were reluctant to re-expand, fearing the gains were temporary.

Furniture and fixture manufacturers are looking at multiple strategies to rebuild or enhance their businesses. The first is finding more online channels. The pandemic may have ended, but the consumer tendency toward fingertip shopping has yet to abate. Furniture companies need to provide tempting and efficient options for web-based purchases.

Another trend is the attraction of customers for multiple transactions. Since many buyers consider furniture a significant purchase, it can take time to lure them back for more. If your company offers marketing skills in this direction, furniture makers may be a good fit as customers.

A third industry strategy is the opening of new markets. If a company has always aimed at a particular customer, say a suburban homeowner, it might look at right-sizing for apartments or dorm rooms. The sector studies what appeals to diverse communities and tries to fulfill those needs. Manufacturers may be eager for your pitch if you offer consulting services in these areas.

In addressing these industry demands, you must connect with the right set of eyes and ears. That's where IndustrySelect can help.

Reaching Industrial Targets in Furniture & Beyond

IndustrySelect can identify your best prospects by industry, location, and company size. You will get complete company profiles with executives' names, titles, and emails. IndustrySelect can also identify competitors among your sales targets, opening up additional prospecting opportunities. Try a free demo today and watch your prospects grow. For those looking, IndustrySelect offers a Furniture & Fixtures Industrial Database, complete with 5,900 companies and 14,000+ executives in this vital market. 

 

Want to keep up with the latest sales and marketing trends and exclusive industrial statistics from MNI? The free weekly IndustrySelect Insider email is the industry's top source for sales, marketing and industrial news you can't find anywhere else. Subscribe here.




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