Market Outlook  

World Furniture Outlook on Global Markets 2017

by Paola Govoni, CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies, Milan – Italy

The report ‘World Furniture Outlook 2017’ published by CSIL, Centre for Industrial Studies based in Milan (Italy) in December 2016 assumes that the international scenario for the years 2017-2018 will be as follows:

Evolution of World GDP. Annual percentage change in real terms

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, October 2016

In the last ten years world trade of furniture (defined as the average between total furniture exports from the 70 major countries and total furniture imports into the 70 major countries) has grown faster than furniture production and has consistently amounted to about 1% of world trade of manufactures.

World trade of furniture amounted to US$ 94 billion in 2009 (19% below the previous year) and grew in the following years to US$ 135 billion in 2014, then contracted by 4% to US$ 129 billion in 2015 (mostly as a consequence of the depreciation of currencies of some major economies in relation to the US$) with no change in 2016. Forecasts are subject to major uncertainties because of possible effects of Brexit and of international trade policies of the new US administration.

World trade of furniture
Current US$ billion and annual percentage changes

The world furniture market

World production of furniture is worth about US$ 406 billion in 2015. This estimate is based on CSIL processing of data from official sources, both national and international, that cover the 70 most important countries. With 5 billion inhabitants, that is roughly 75% of the world population, they account for more than 90% of world trade of goods and of world furniture production in value.

Percentage breakdown of world furniture production, 2015

Source: CSIL

The international furniture trade of this group of 70 countries corresponds to about 1% of world trade of manufactures. The main furniture producer is China, accounting for 41% of world furniture production. Other major furniture manufacturing countries are the United States, Germany, Italy, India, Poland, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada and South Korea. The evolution of furniture production by geographical region in the past ten years outlined some major issues: from 2007 to 2016 production in Asia and Pacific more than doubled, while changes in other regions of the world were comparatively minor. As a consequence, in 2016 more than half of world furniture production took place in Asia and the Pacific area.

The leading importers of furniture are the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Canada. In the last five years the increase of imports in the US (from US$ 23 billion in 2010 to about US$ 32 billion in 2016) was the main engine of growth in international trade of furniture.

The main furniture exporting country is China, followed at a distance by Germany, Italy, Poland and Vietnam. A major new development is the decrease of Chinese furniture exports in 2016. The main change in the ranking of furniture exporting countries between 2010 e 2015 was the emergence of Vietnam, which moved from the 6th to the 5th place overcoming the Unites States.

In essence, the bulk of international trade of furniture originates in China, Germany, Italy, Poland and Vietnam and goes to the Unites States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada.

Furniture trade matrix. Destination of exports

Source: CSIL processing of official data

Furniture trade matrix. Origin of imports

Source: CSIL processing of official data

Furniture consumption. Countries grouped by geographical region, 2017
Forecasts of yearly changes in real terms

Source: CSIL

Forecasts for 2017 by geographical regions

The apparent consumption per capita of furniture ranges from an average of US$ 21 per year in South America to US$ 185 per year in North America. The worldwide average is US$ 72 per year.

Total world furniture consumption (i.e. the aggregate of 70 countries) grew from US$ 345 billion in 2007 to a peak of US$ 364 billion in 2008 before decreasing as a consequence of the recession in 2009. Growth resumed in 2010. Consumption rose above the pre-recession level in 2011 and preliminary figures show a level of consumption at US$ 396 billion in 2016.

Furniture consumption. Countries grouped by geographical region, 2017 Forecasts of yearly changes in real terms Source: CSIL Generally speaking, figures show the growing importance of Asia and Pacific, where furniture consumption (at production prices, excluding retail markup), has grown from US$ 118 billion in 2010 to US$ 177 billion in 2016. Consumption in North America has also been growing.

In 2017 consumption is forecasted to grow by 2.7% in real terms worldwide. The fastest growing region continues to be Asia and Pacific, although growth in China is slowing down. Prospects for North America are more favourable than for Europe. South America will still remain in a phase of recession.

PAOLA GOVONI, is a journalist and since 1985 a Partner of CSIL, Centre for Industrial Studies, with headoffices in Milan, Italy.

Since 1999 she is Editor-in-Chief of WORLD FURNITURE, quarterly magazine of economic information and market analysis of international furniture and furnishing industry published by CSIL.

The “World Furniture Outlook 2017” Report contains analytical data on the furniture industry and forecasts for 2017 and 2018 for 70 countries within the world economy. The Report provides a comprehensive overview of the world furniture industry focusing on production, consumption, imports and exports, with opening degree of furniture markets expressed as growth trend of exports for the world’s 40 major exporting countries. The ranking of countries by level of furniture consumption is provided as well. 70 country tables highlight the global furniture market scenario. The geographical classification of the 70 countries is as follows:

European Union (28) + Norway, Switzerland and Iceland: Austria, Belgium/Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland (30 countries). Central and Eastern Europe outside the EU & Russia: Bosnia Herzegovina, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine (5 countries).

Asia and Pacific: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand (15 countries).
Middle East and Africa: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and South Africa (12 countries).
North America: Canada, Mexico, United States (3 countries).
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela (5 countries)

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