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Factoids

Factoids offer brief snapshots of current topics pertinent to the Furniture industry based on our on-going research. Increase your grasp of current trends, consumer attitudes, and shifts within the industry through solid statistics and concise insight.

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Factoids

Furniture Industry Growth by Outlet Type

This is the second factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the rise of e-commerce in the furniture industry. As many brick and mortar stores search for strategies to compete with giant online retailers, those same retailers are looking for ways to remain profitable.

The total furniture and bedding industry grew 3.9 percent last year. It is estimated that brick and mortar store sales of furniture grew only 2 percent while e-commerce retailer sales grew 12.9 percent. 

Over the course of seven years since the bottom of the recession in 2009 furniture sales through e-commerce have grown at an annual rate (CAGR) of 22.2 percent compared to brick and mortar retailers at 3.0 percent.  Total industry sales have grown at an annual rate of 5.1 percent.

Annual year-over-year growth of the three outlet types

The rate of e-commerce sales peaked at 26 percent in 2015, but has slowed somewhat over the last two years to 12.9 percent in 2017.  Meanwhile, brick and mortar sales have struggled to reach 2 percent growth over the last two years.

Along with furniture e-commerce sales, other home furnishing products – floor covering, window treatments and home accessories – have grown at an even faster pace and surpass furniture in online sales. Consumers are still finding it easier and less daunting to buy home furnishings online without seeing or touching them in a store. While furniture e-commerce sales have grown from over 300 percent since 2009 (bottom of the recession) totaling $19.7 billion last year, home furnishings have grown 489 percent to $27.7 billion in 2017.

Source: Impact Consulting Services Inc.’s FurnitureCore.com proprietary Industry Model; U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey or Retail Trade (e-commerce) with all sales revised in March 2017. 2017 preliminary estimates

E-commerce Strengthens Foothold on Furniture Industry Furniture Industry Sales

This is the first factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the rise of e-commerce in the furniture industry. As many brick and mortar stores search for strategies to compete with giant online retailers, those same retailers are looking for ways to remain profitable.

It is estimated that 2017 internet sales of furniture alone from both brick and mortar and pure e-commerce retailers totaled an estimated $19.7 billion or 18.8 percent of the total industry.

The retail furniture industry reached $105.2 billion last year, a growth of 3.9 percent over 2016. Of the $105.2 billion industry total, sales can be distributed between (1) brick and mortar stores, (2) e-commerce retailers plus e-commerce sales by brick and mortar companies, and (3) mail order houses. Pure e-commerce retailers are those that do not have physical store locations, like Amazon or Wayfair, or their e-commerce is operated as a separate business unit, like Walmart.com. Additional e-commerce sales from brick and mortar stores total only 1 percent of the total industry.

Last year furniture and bedding sales by brick and mortar stores (non internet) totaled $83.1 billion compared to $19.7 billion e-commerce (all outlet types), and $2.3 billion from mail order houses.

E-commerce continues to gain a greater share of the furniture industry – jumping from 5.1 percent of sales in 2006 to 18.8 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, brick and mortar share of total sales fell from a 92.2 percent share to 79.0 percent – decreasing dramatically as the economy improved after 2009.

Source: Impact Consulting Services Inc.’s FurnitureCore.com proprietary Industry Model; U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey or Retail Trade (e-commerce) with all sales revised in March 2017. 2017 preliminary estimates

Companies Facing Nationwide Worker Shortage Population Not in Labor Force

This is the final factoid in a series of four factoids showing how labor shortages throughout the U.S. are fast becoming a real issue across all major industries. From farms to factories, employers are having a hard time finding both unskilled and skilled workers. The brick and mortar home furnishings industry is not immune to the worker shortage crisis facing American businesses.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the growing need facing companies to attract and retain employees, while adapting their training methods and introducing technology that fills the gap of a smaller workforce.

Of the 37 percent of the civilian population over age 16 that are not in the labor force, only 5.4 percent actually want a job, but are just not actively looking for one. This figure represents 5.2 million Americans, down from 6.6 million in 2012, that want a job, but are not in the workforce.

The number of men not in the labor force as a percent of the total labor force has slowly increased over the last decade and beyond. In 2006, only 37.9 percent of those not in the labor force were men. Since then, the number has grown yearly – up to 40.3 percent in February (2018). Conversely, the number of Women as a percent of those not in the labor force is declining. They represent 59.7 percent of those not in the labor force, down from 62.1 percent in 2006.

Adding to the worker shortage is that the desire for a job is falling as those not in the labor force keeps climbing. The percent of people not in the labor force but still would like a job fell 6.6 percent last year, with women growing slightly more interested in working than men.

With many companies having a difficult time finding qualified employees, real concern is growing over worker shortage. Many older workers are retiring or choosing not to work and there are less young, not as qualified, workers to replace them. As a remedy, some industries are turning to robots, automation, and artificial intelligence to adapt to labor shortages. Through education, training, and pairing human skills with technology, companies may find ways to cope with a smaller labor force.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey
*Persons who want a job now are part of those not in the labor force but who are not actively looking for a job. Unemployment figures reflect those actively looking for a job.

Companies Facing Nationwide Worker Shortage Civilian Labor Force

This is the third factoid in a series of four factoids showing how labor shortages throughout the U.S. are fast becoming a real issue across all major industries. From farms to factories, employers are having a hard time finding both unskilled and skilled workers. The brick and mortar home furnishings industry is not immune to the worker shortage crisis facing American businesses.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the growing need facing companies to attract and retain employees, while adapting their training methods and introducing technology that fills the gap of a smaller workforce.

The Civilian Labor Force includes persons employed and those unemployed, but actively looking for work. Down 3.2 percentage points from 2006, the current work force (February 2018) makes up 63 percent of the total civilian population over the age of 16. Roughly 37 percent of the population over 16 is not considered part of the labor force. This segment – Not in the Labor Force – consists of people who are in school and do not work, those who have grown disillusioned searching for work and not actively looking, and those who choose not to work for various reasons.

The unemployment rate has dropped to 4.1 percent in February of this year – the lowest since 2000. Unfortunately, this has not translated into big gains for the employed population. At 63.0 percent, the percent of the population employed continues to stay well below pre-recession levels, while people not in the labor force climbs further, growing 3.2 percentage points from 2006 to 2018 (February).

The labor force historically includes teenagers, ages 16 to 19, as they make up a large portion of the part-time labor market. This year, ages 16 to 19 account for 6.5 percent of the total civilian population over the age of 16, but only 3.7 percent of the workforce. In addition to an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent among teens, many are opting out of summer jobs and represent 11.3 percent of the total persons “not in the labor force.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teenagers opting out of summer work is not due to laziness, but rather education taking its place. In addition to many school districts either lengthening the school day or academic year, many students are taking summer classes to “get ahead “ – cutting into time for a job.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Companies Facing Nationwide Worker Shortage: Job Openings by Industry and Region

This is the second factoid in a series of four factoids showing how labor shortages throughout the U.S. are fast becoming a real issue across all major industries. From farms to factories, employers are having a hard time finding both unskilled and skilled workers. The brick and mortar home furnishings industry is not immune to the worker shortage crisis facing American businesses.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the growing need facing companies to attract and retain employees, while adapting their training methods and introducing technology that fills the gap of a smaller workforce.

With 711,000 job openings in January, Retail Trade is struggling to hire and keep sales people. This accounts for 11.3 percent of total job openings – up from 10.2 percent last year. Both Healthcare and Social Assistance and Professional and Business Services make up 34 percent of all job openings – a total of 2.1 million jobs. 12.7 percent of job openings in 2018 (Jan) belong to the Hospitality industry (Accommodation and Food Services).

Job Openings by Region

While the South leads the way in total job openings (2.2 million), openings in the Midwest soared in one year to a rate of 4.6 percent – up from 3.7 percent. As many farms struggle to find workers, job openings in the West jumped 26 percent to 1.5 million jobs from 2017 to 2018 and finished January with a rate of 4.3 percent, while the Northeast has both the lowest rate (3.6 percent) and number of vacancies (1 million).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Note: The job openings rate is the number of job openings on the last business day of the month as a percent of total employment plus job openings

Companies Facing Nationwide Worker Shortage: Rate of Job Openings

This is the first factoid in a series of four factoids showing how labor shortages throughout the U.S. are fast becoming a real issue across all major industries. From farms to factories, employers are having a hard time finding both unskilled and skilled workers. The brick and mortar home furnishings industry is not immune to the worker shortage crisis facing American businesses. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the growing need facing companies to attract and retain employees, while adapting their training methods and introducing technology that fills the gap of a smaller workforce.

According to the latest data, the U.S. has 6.3 million job openings and 6.7 million unemployed workers. In many cases, the skill sets required for the job and/or the wages required by the worker for these open positions do not match with the available unemployed labor force pool in the required geographic area.

Job Openings by Industry

Accommodation (hospitality) and food services is the hardest hit industry with 5.5 percent job vacancy – increasing from 4.6 percent last year. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism accounts for over 14 million jobs in the United States and a continued rise in job openings could impede economic growth for the hospitality sector.

Healthcare and social assistance had 1.03 million jobs open in January 2018, the most of any sector, and was among the highest with an open job rate of five percent. Job openings among transportation, warehousing, and utilities jumped 63.1 percent over a year – from 187,000 to 305,000. Retail trade, which includes all furniture and home furnishing stores, had 711,000 jobs opens and a job opening rate of 4.3 percent– up 28.6 percent from the same period last year.

Government jobs – Federal, State, and Local – had the lowest rate of job openings at 2.1 percent. With rates under 4 percent (3.5 percent and 3.1 percent), job vacancies among Construction and Educational Services still rose 57.2 percent and 42.9 percent respectively from 2017 to 2018.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Note: The job openings rate is the number of job openings on the last business day of the month as a percent of total employment plus job openings

Exports of Household Furniture by Country In Selected Years 2002 to 2017

In 2017, imports of household furniture rose 10.7 percent compared to only 3.8 percent growth in retail sales. The Great Recession, 2007 to 2009, brought with it a major collapse in international trade – deeply affecting both imports and exports of household furniture. In recent years, growing wages, higher employment, a boost in consumer confidence and a healthy housing market have propelled import growth. Meanwhile, exports have struggled to maintain the initial post-recession climb. This is the final factoid in a series of five factoids detailing U.S. imports and exports from 2002 to 2017.

Exports by Country

As previously detailed in this factoid series, the U.S. exports $1 in furniture products for every $10 in imported furniture. After rising over 45 percent from the recession (2009) to $3.4 billion in 2015, U.S. exports of household furniture have decreased by 7 percent in 2 years to $3.15 billion in 2017. Only three countries – Canada, Mexico, and China – represent more than 3 percent of U.S. imports. More than half (56.3 percent) of U.S. furniture exports is to Canada.

The U.S. trade deficit in household furniture grew an additional negative $3 billion dollars last year, from -$24.6 billion in 2016 to -$27.6 billion in 2017. U.S. imports continue to increase from China alongside a growing Vietnam wood manufacturing presence. A poor showing for U.S. exports over the past two years is also troubling. With threats of trade wars brewing, and the U.S.’s dependency on China for its household furniture, the industry does not want to get caught in the crosshairs.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade

Major Furniture Imports by Material Type In Selected Years : 2002 to 2017

In 2017, imports of household furniture rose 10.7 percent compared to only 3.8 percent growth in retail sales. The Great Recession, 2007 to 2009, brought with it a major collapse in international trade – deeply affecting both imports and exports of household furniture. In recent years, growing wages, higher employment, a boost in consumer confidence and a healthy housing market have propelled import growth. Meanwhile, exports have struggled to maintain the initial post-recession climb. This is the fourth in a series of five factoids detailing U.S. imports and exports from 2002 to 2017.

Wood Household Furniture

Wood household furniture imports totaled $11.8 billion in 2017 and are up 9 percent over the previous year. At a 38 percent share of wood furniture imports in 2017, China still owns the wood category at $4.5 billion, but has lost significant share to Vietnam. Vietnam has grown from less than 1 percent of wood furniture imports to over 25 percent from 2002 to 2017. Canada, once a major player in wood furniture, has fallen to only 6.7 percent of the total. Malaysia and Indonesia continue their steady wood niches but control less than 6 percent of wood imports each.

Upholstered Household Furniture

Unlike the wood category, China has very little competition in upholstered goods in the international marketplace. Although not producing as high a market share, Vietnam has also made great strides in upholstery – growing from $7 million in 2002 to $700 million in 2017 and having a one year increase of 51.2 percent from 2016 to 2017. Once a major player, Italy was the leading exporter of upholstery to the U.S. until 2003 when China surpassed them. Once importing 28 percent of upholstered furniture, now the U.S. imports only 3 percent from Italy.

Metal Household Furniture

Even more so than upholstery, China dominates the market in imported metal household furniture with 75 percent market share. China increased from $1.7 billion in 2002 to $5.6 billion in 2017 – a jump of 225 percent in 15 years. While imports from Canada have grown since the bottom of the recession in 2009, it continues to lose market share to China. Imports from both Mexico and Taiwan have decreased since 2015, but Vietnam has maintained an annual average increase of 38 percent.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade

Imports of Household Furniture by Broad Product

In Selected Years 2002 to 2017

In 2017, imports of household furniture rose 10.7 percent compared to only 3.8 percent growth in retail sales. The Great Recession, 2007 to 2009, brought with it a major collapse in international trade – deeply affecting both imports and exports of household furniture. In recent years, growing wages, higher employment, a boost in consumer confidence and a healthy housing market have propelled import growth. Meanwhile, exports have struggled to maintain the initial post-recession climb. This is the third in a series of five factoids detailing U.S. imports and exports from 2002 to 2017.

Major Furniture Imports by Material Type

Wood furniture imports have always been king but are now feeling the pressure from upholstery and metal. It has only been in the past two years that wood imports surpassed pre-recession import levels. But at $11.8 billion in 2017, wood products are still the largest material category among furniture import but have receded to 38.5 percent of total furniture imports in 2017 – down from 56.5 percent in 2002. Conversely both upholstery and metal have been increasing at a high rate, and combined, now account for almost 50 percent (49.2 percent).

Purchases of upholstery and metal household furniture from around the world have increased more than 68 percent since 2007. Although it is the smallest imported product category, bedding has catapulted since 2002 – increasing over 2,000 percent. Reaching $1 billion in 2017, imports of mattresses have grown 51.8 percent in just a year. Much of this increase can be attributed to adjustable bed bases and mattresses of cellular rubber or plastics.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade

U.S. Furniture Imports by Country In Selected Years 2002 to 2017

In 2017, imports of household furniture rose 10.7 percent compared to only 3.8 percent growth in retail sales. The Great Recession, 2007 to 2009, brought with it a major collapse in international trade – deeply affecting both imports and exports of household furniture. In recent years, growing wages, higher employment, a boost in consumer confidence and a healthy housing market have propelled import growth. Meanwhile, exports have struggled to maintain the initial post-recession climb. This is the second in a series of five factoids detailing U.S. imports and exports from 2002 to 2017.

Over 200 countries export furniture into the U.S. but only nine represent over 90 percent of the total value coming into this country. China’s furniture exports alone have grown to roughly 60 percent of total U.S. imports – up 19.3 percentage points from 2002 to 2017. China has retained its hold on U.S. Imports through the recession. Since the peak of the recession in 2009, the value of imports from China has grown 98.8 percent to $18 billion.

Reversing dramatically over the previous decade, Canada’s decline alongside Vietnam’s rise still continues from 2009 to 2017. Vietnam has jumped from 0.5 percent of total U.S. imports in 2002 to 13 percent in 2017, while Canada has plummeted from 18.3 percent to 5.6 percent in the same 15 year period. Canada’s value of imported furniture fell 30.4 percent 2002 to 2017. Mexico has lessened its share of U.S. imports slightly since 2015 – down 0.6 percentage points to 4.5 percent in 2017, but the value of imports has increased by 3 percent to $1.4 billion.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade

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