The furniture industry has taken a hit with the peaks and lows of the economy in the past several years, and it seems the decline has continued into 2013. According to The Timber Network, U.S. imports of wooden furniture from both Vietnam and China have recently plunged.
As stated in Timber’s Market Report, March has seen the most dramatic drop in numbers. “China’s furniture shipments to the U.S. fell to $316.6 million. Imports from Vietnam declined to $121.0 million in March.”
There were over 10,000 shipments of wooden furniture received in the U.S. in February, while imports in March dropped to about 7,700 shipments.
A broad look at shipments within the Import Genius database certainly reflect these changes. Numbers have dropped in 2013 over the last 6 months compared to the last half of 2012. While over 15,000 wooden furniture shipments were received from July 1 through December 31 last year, shipments from China received January through June fell short of 13,000. Shipments from Vietnam also fell, going from nearly 3,400 received in the last two quarters of 2012 to just over 2,600 received the first two quarters of 2013.
“U.S. imports of wooden furniture fell below $1 billion for the first time in the last 12 months. March imports were worth $813.9 billion, down 21% from the previous month.”
Overall shipment volumes peaked in 2007 prior to the start of the recession in the U.S. Shipments received in 2012 were close to double the amount of wooden furniture shipments received last year.
The following annual numbers since 2007 show the overall decline in wooden furniture imports:
2012: 80,045 shipments
2011: 80,768 shipments
2010: 91,694 shipments
2009: 87,690 shipments
2008: 56,541 shipments
2007: 148,874 shipments
The following annual numbers since 2007 show the overall decline in generic furniture imports: 2012: 287,301 shipments
2011: 240,032 shipments
2010: 276,222 shipments
2009: 293,253 shipments
2008: 368,930 shipments
2007: 391,442 shipments
According to Jerry Epperson of Furniture Today, upholstered furniture imports have been more prosperous than wooden furniture. Upholstered furniture shipments over the past two years have increased. From 2011 to 2012, shipments increased by more than 1,000. Shipments from China also saw higher numbers. While shipments fell short of 2,300 in 2011, they exceeded 2,900 in 2012.
Imports in March have been most significant this year. “Just under 75% of all imported upholstered furniture came from China in the March quarter, and its shipments grew 14.8%. Imported upholstery from Mexico was up 6%, Vietnam up 13.7% and Canada up 0.4%, representing 5.3%, 4.8% and 4.5% of all imported upholstery, respectively,” Epperson said.
Despite a slump in numbers, The Timber Network reports that new housing and home renovations should drive more demand for furniture imports. Epperson also echoed this notion. “All indications are that in 2013, our worst quarter is now past. April was stronger, and Memorial Day helped May improve. With housing sales strong, we should get a seasonal bounce this year beginning in late summer.” Source: