CSIL World Report  


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

With about 600 million inhabitants and a per capita GNP of about US$ 10,000, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have a total household consumption of more than US$ 300 billion. Seven countries have a total GNP above US$ 100 billion: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Peru.

The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean account for about 4% of world furniture consumption in 2014, with a per capita furniture consumption of 28 US$ against a world average of about 85 US$. Apparent furniture consumption (at production prices excluding retail markup) amounts to about US$ 17.3 billion.

Main markets, with consumption above US$ 400 million, are Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

South America’s largest furniture consuming country is Brazil, followed at a distance by Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Argentina. Brazil is a major consumer at a world level, ranking in 13th position among world consumers.

In Central America the main furniture consuming country is Mexico, with a furniture consumption (at production prices, excluding retail markup) of more than US$ 2 billion.

The furniture sector in the Caribbean islands is important mostly for furniture for hotels and the tourism industry in general. The main consuming countries are the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

Import is about 23% of the furniture consumed. About 77% of the total furniture market is supplied by local manufacturers. The major importing countries are Mexico, Brazil and Chile with furniture imports exceeding US$ 400 million.

Exports amount to about US$ 3.2 billion. The main exporting countries are Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia.


In Latin America and the Caribbean there are 63 metropolitan areas with a population of more than 1 million inhabitants in 2015. Urbanisation continues to be rapid, and large urban areas will be major engine of economic growth, with important implications for future increases in furniture consumption.

Import penetration (i.e. the imports/consumption ratio) is high in Central America and in the Caribbean, while it is still very low in South America, mainly as a consequence of the fact that Brazil is a very closed market. Furniture imports in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean grew from about US$ 3 billion in 2010 to US$ 4 billion in 2014.

Furniture consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean is in a phase of stagnation in 2015 and 2016, mainly because of the unfavourable market conditions in Brazil and in Venezuela. Among the largest markets, the more promising in terms of growth in the next two years are Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

HIGHLIGHTS ON MAIN MARKETS Total furniture production in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean is worth about US$ 16.5 billion. Almost 70% of production in the area takes place in Brazil and Mexico.

Brazil is the 13th largest furniture market in the world and the first market in Latin America. Brazil ranks 11th in the world as a furniture producer, with a productive system composed by a large majority of micro and small enterprises and some big local players, for a total of around 19,700 companies and about 322,000 workers in production. Brazil ranks 33rd as a furniture exporter and 30th as a furniture importer at a world level. Main destinations of the Brazilian furniture exports are: the United States (18%), the United Kingdom (14.5%), Argentina (12.1%), Angola (6.5%) and Peru (5.9%). Furniture import penetration, although increasing over recent years, is still low (less than 10%), with the market share of Chinese products increasing fast. Origin of furniture imports is China (32.2%), the U.S. (9.1%), South Korea (6.1%), Mexico (6.1%) and Italy (5.0%).

Mexico is the second producer, the second largest consumer and the leading exporter and importer in the Latin American and the Caribbean area. At a world level (among 70 countries monitored by CSIL) Mexico stands out as the 11th exporter and 20th producer. Mexican furniture production accounts for around 18% of the Latin American and the Caribbean furniture production and 12% of total Latin American and Caribbean furniture consumption. Exports account for 66% of the total exports of the area. Exports/ production ratio increased from 45% in 2009 to 70% in 2014. It is open to furniture imports, which have been increasing fast over the years. Main destinations of Mexican exports are: the U.S. (75.4%), and Canada (11,1%). Origin of furniture imports is China (40.2%), the U.S. (33.3%), Italy (7.4%), Spain (4.9%) and Canada (2.2%). Argentina ranks 7th as furniture producer in Latin America. Furniture import penetration is low (less than 20%), but the market share of Chinese products is increasing fast. China and Brazil are the major suppliers to the Argentine market. After suffering for the crisis in 2009, import flows from the two countries started growing again in 2010, but while imports from China have been increasing fast, those from Brazil have been strongly declining. Main destinations of Argentine exports are: Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, and Colombia. Origin of furniture imports is China (64.4%), Brazil (14.1%), the U.S. (2.9%), Spain (2.5%) and Italy (1.8%).

In Chile furniture import penetration is above the world average. Imported goods satisfy 42% of total furniture consumption and over the period 2009-2014 furniture imports increased by an average annual rate of 21%. Main suppliers of Chilean furniture imports are: China (55.4%), Malaysia (7.8%), Brazil (7.7%), the U.S. (4.8%) and Italy (2.7%), which together provide around 80% of total furniture imports. The bulk of Chilean furniture production is destined for the domestic market; export propensity among Chilean firms is still very low. Only 3% of total furniture production was exported in 2014, for a value of US$ 20 million.

Colombia is a fast growing market in Latin America with potentials for both domestic and foreign markets. It ranks 44th in CSIL database of world furniture market, with an average annual growth rate of furniture consumption of about 20% between 2009 and 2012 and expected growth for consumption of 2% in 2016. It ranks 49th as a furniture producer, 53th as an exporter and 56th as an importer. Main destinations of Colombian exports are: Panama, the U.S., Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru. Origin of furniture imports is mainly China (51%), the U.S. (8.1%), Italy (6.3%), Brazil (5.9%) and Mexico (5.8%).

A trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries has been signed on 4 February 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The TRANSPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (TPP) is an expansion of the former Trans- Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP) signed in 2005 by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. 8 additional countries joined the agreement in 2016: Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Vietnam.

The CSIL report ‘Furniture Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean’ edition November 2015 covers the following Country classification: - South America (12 countries): Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. - Central America including Mexico (8 countries): Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. - The Caribbean (7 countries plus the Eastern Caribbean group of 6 countries): Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago. The Eastern Caribbean countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The CSIL report ‘Furniture Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean’ is available for purchase and immediate download at: www.worldfurnitureonline.com.