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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 Wages Transportation and Delivery

Wages across the U.S. job market have been slow to grow post-recession, despite a healthy economy and the lowest unemployment rates in decades and the furniture industry is no exception. The steady increase of furniture and home furnishings sales over the last 10 years has been slower to hit employees working in the stores, but in recent years many occupations have finally started to see an upturn in wage growth.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March 2019 release of “Occupational Employment Statistics,” this is the final factoid in a series of five factoids detailing employee wages in furniture stores and home furnishings stores across the variety of occupations.

Transportation and Delivery

Among transportation and delivery occupations in furniture and home furnishings stores, installation, maintenance, and repair workers are among the highest paid non-managerial positions, earning a median hourly wage of $17.83 in furniture stores and $18.59 in home furnishings stores. Although light truck or delivery services and drivers earn considerably less at $13.10 and $15.47 respectively, their wages have increased by 17.5 percent and 21 percent since 2012.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics,” released March 29, 2019

Furniture Industry Wages: Office and Administrative Support Occupations

Wages across the U.S. job market have been slow to grow post-recession, despite a healthy economy and the lowest unemployment rates in decades and the furniture industry is no exception. The steady increase of furniture and home furnishings sales over the last 10 years has been slower to hit employees working in the stores, but in recent years many occupations have finally started to see an upturn in wage growth.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March 2019 release of “Occupational Employment Statistics,” this is the fourth factoid in a series of five factoids detailing employee wages in furniture stores and home furnishings stores across the variety of occupations.

Office and Administrative Support Occupations

By far, executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants are the highest paid among office and admin support jobs – earning a median hourly rate of $29.20 in furniture stores and $26.68 in home furnishings stores. The executive admin jobs also had the largest increases from 2012 to 2018 – jumping 32.5 percent in furniture stores and 29.8 percent in home furnishings stores.

Lowest paid among these positions are customer service reps, receptionists and information clerks, and stock clerks and order fillers – all earning less than a $14 median hourly wage.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics,” released March 29, 2019 

Furniture Industry Wages Sales and Related Occupations

Wages across the U.S. job market have been slow to grow post-recession, despite a healthy economy and the lowest unemployment rates in decades and the furniture industry is no exception. The steady increase of furniture and home furnishings sales over the last 10 years has been slower to hit employees working in the stores, but in recent years many occupations have finally started to see an upturn in wage growth.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March 2019 release of “Occupational Employment Statistics,” this is the third factoid in a series of five factoids detailing employee wages in furniture stores and home furnishings stores across the variety of occupations.

Sales and Related Occupations

Sales and related occupations are among lowest paying jobs in furniture stores and home furnishings stores. These have also been the slowest in earnings growth. In both distribution channels, cashiers earn a median hourly rate below $12. Wages continually dropped for cashiers through 2012 to 2015, before growing in recent years – most likely due to minimum wages going up in many cities and states. Retail salespersons make more in furniture stores with a median hourly wage of $13.94, compared to $12.40 in home furnishings stores. The most startling statistic is that between 2012 and 2018, earning for retail salespersons in furniture stores grew only 6.5 percent and 5.9 percent in home furnishings stores.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics,” released March 29, 2019.

Furniture Industry Wages Non-Managerial Occupations Art and Design Occupations

Wages across the U.S. job market have been slow to grow post-recession, despite a healthy economy and the lowest unemployment rates in decades and the furniture industry is no exception. The steady increase of furniture and home furnishings sales over the last 10 years has been slower to hit employees working in the stores, but in recent years many occupations have finally started to see an upturn in wage growth.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March 2019 release of “Occupational Employment Statistics,” this is the second factoid in a series of five factoids detailing employee wages in furniture stores and home furnishings stores across the variety of occupations.

As a whole non-managerial positions among furniture and home furnishings retailers carry much lower wages than managerial positions.

Non-Managerial Occupations: Art and Design Category

Non-management wages are reported in hourly wages. Interior designers in furniture stores have shown consistent median hourly wage growth (14.1 percent) from 2012 to 2018, compared to the much slower growth pace in home furnishings from 2012 to 2018 of 3.9 percent. (Table E and Figure 2). In 2018, Interior designers earned a higher median hourly wage in furniture stores ($21.90) than in home furnishings stores ($19.75).

Median hourly wages of merchandise displayer and window treatment occupations are consistent between both channels – earning between $15 and $16 an hour in 2018.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics,” released March 29, 2019.

Furniture Industry Wages Management Occupations

Wages across the U.S. job market have been slow to grow post-recession, despite a healthy economy and the lowest unemployment rates in decades and the furniture industry is no exception. The steady increase of furniture and home furnishings sales over the last 10 years has been slower to hit employees working in the stores, but in recent years many occupations have finally started to see an upturn in wage growth. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ March 2019 release of “Occupational Employment Statistics,” this is the first factoid in a series of five factoids detailing employee wages in furniture stores and home furnishings stores across the variety of occupations.

As expected, in major distribution channels that market furniture and home furnishings, retail management occupations carry the higher salary positions. With the exception of administrative service managers, wages in furniture stores are generally higher. In 2018, administrative service managers in home furnishings stores were the highest paid management positions, earning a median annual wage of $112,570 compared to the same occupation earning $77,240 in furniture stores. This represents a 42.4 percent increase from 2012 to 2018 for home furnishings stores administrative service managers compared to a 21.4 percent increase in furniture stores. In furniture stores, financial managers are the highest paid management positions averaging $114,600 annually. Purchasing managers are the second highest management position in furniture stores at $107,180, similar to wages of $107,400 in home furnishings stores. Purchasing managers earnings increased 2012 to 2018 by 45.3 percent and 20.6 percent, respectively. 

On average, neither general managers, sales managers nor transportation, storage, and distribution managers have broken the $100,000 ceiling. In addition, the earning of GMs in furniture stores and home furnishings stores have had the lowest increase of all management positions over the last five years, growing only 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively 2012 to 2018. GMs in furniture stores earned over $5,000 more annually than those in home furnishings stores – sales managers more than $13,000 and $15,000 for transportation and distribution managers.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment Statistics,” released March 29, 2019.

Characteristics of Top Spending Households Region

A snapshot of today’s top-spending furniture consumers looks to be high-earning married couples, in their late 30s and early 40s with young children, living in urban areas. Using data from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, this is the final factoid in a series of four factoids delving into key household characteristics – age, income, marriage/children status, occupation, population, and region.

 

With the majority of larger U.S. urban areas in the Northeast, it is not surprising the region has the highest annual furniture expenditure at $587. And even though the South has the lowest expenditures per households at $470, because of the region’s size, the South accounts for 38.3% of total furniture spending – well above the Northeast (17.9%) and the Midwest and West, both at 22%.

Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus Personal Consumption Expenditures published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see methodology box below “ Methodology: The CE versus the PCE”

Characteristics of Top Spending Households Population

A snapshot of today’s top-spending furniture consumers looks to be high-earning married couples, in their late 30s and early 40s with young children, living in urban areas. Using data from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, this is the fourth factoid in a series of four factoids delving into key household characteristics – age, income, marriage/children status, occupation, population, and region.

Urban Population

Where people live also influences how much they spend on furniture each year. Larger cities seem to command the higher salaries, but also higher costs of living. Households in America’s mega markets with over 5 million in population, do not, in fact, spend the most on furniture. Bigger cities, but not the largest urban areas, with populations between 2.5 million and 5 million – had the highest annual furniture expenditures at $669 in 2017.

Although the larger, densely populated areas spend more per household, the greatest share of total furniture purchases, 21.7 percent, are from households living in mid-sized urban areas with a population of 250,000 to 999,999.

Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus Personal Consumption Expenditures published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see methodology box below “ Methodology: The CE versus the PCE”

Characteristics of Top Spending Households Occupation Type

A snapshot of today’s top-spending furniture consumers looks to be high-earning married couples, in their late 30s and early 40s with young children, living in urban areas. Using data from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, this is the third factoid in a series of four factoids delving into key household characteristics – age, income, marriage/children status, occupation, population, and region.

Occupation Type

By far, managers and professionals, with their higher incomes, had the highest average annual expenditure at $740, 41 percent more than the second highest spender, construction workers and mechanics. Construction workers and mechanics spent an annual average of $523 in 2017, slightly more than self-employed workers at $516.

Not only do managers and professionals spend the most on furniture annually, this group also comprises a substantial portion of the U.S. workforce controlling 35.5 percent of total furniture expenditures. Retired Baby Boomers are second, with 16.9 percent of sales. The occupation category that controls the third largest segment of the industry - technical, sales and clerical workers – contains some of the lowest spenders per household at $476 annually; however, their sheer numbers put their industry presence at 13.8 percent of total dollars. Service workers, also among the lowest in expenditures at $407 still represent 10.5 percent of industry sales.

Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus Personal Consumption Expenditures published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see methodology box below “ Methodology: The CE versus the PCE”

Characteristics of Top Spending Households Marriage and Children

A snapshot of today’s top-spending furniture consumers looks to be high-earning married couples, in their late 30s and early 40s with young children, living in urban areas. Using data from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, this is the second factoid in a series of four factoids delving into key household characteristics – age, income, marriage/children status, occupation, population, and region.

Marriage and Children Status

Marriage and children play a huge role in a consumer’s furniture buying needs. Typically marriage leads to buying a house and furnishings. When kids come along, households have furniture buying needs for years to come as families grow. Young married families starting out where the oldest child is under 6 had the highest average furniture expenditure at $886. These families, often dual-income earners, place a high priority on home furnishings. Most often this is their first home purchase. The next older cohort, married households with children between 6 and 17 years of age spend 12 percent less at $780 annually. At this life-stage additional family commitments begin to compete for household dollars – such as expenditures on school activities and sport, dental braces, teenage automobile costs, and private schools among higher income earners.

While married couples with the oldest child under 6 spent the most per consumer unit/household, this segment only accounts for 7.2 percent of the total furniture expenditures. If Millennials seriously start to embrace the traditional American Dream – get married, have children, and buy a house – it will be a huge boom for the furniture industry. Married couples without children appear to control the largest portion of furniture purchases at 32.3 percent while single consumer units without children spend 25.7 percent. Married couples with the oldest child over 18 only reflect 8.6 percent of furniture purchases as parents plan for the next life-stage – children in college.

Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus Personal Consumption Expenditures published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see methodology box below “ Methodology: The CE versus the PCE”

Characteristics of Top Spending Households Age and Income

A snapshot of today’s top-spending furniture consumers looks to be high-earning married couples, in their late 30s and early 40s with young children, living in urban areas. Using data from the 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, this is the first factoid in a series of four factoids delving into key household characteristics – age, income, marriage/children status, occupation, population, and region.

Age and Income

Ages 35 to 44 spent an average of $663 per furniture expenditure in 2017 – the highest of the age groups. 54 percent of these older Millennials and younger Gen Xers are homeowners. Many older millennials are just now settling down, making more money, purchasing homes and buying furniture. Some of the younger Millennials (Ages 25-34) are also contributing to higher furniture expenditures. At an annual average of $538, ages 25 to 34 are spending more per purchase than ages 45 to 54 ($517).

Not surprisingly, consumers that earn more money tend to spend more on their furniture purchases. High income earners spent three-times to four-times the level of middle class house households in 2017. The jump among higher income households – those earning above $100,000 – is quite dramatic. Households with incomes between $150,000 to $199,999 spend an annual furniture expenditure average of $1,132 compared to $700 for those earning between $100,000 and $149,999 – a 61.7 percent increase.

Methodology: The CE versus the PCE

There are currently two U.S. Federal series of data that refer to household expenditures. One is produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, using the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), and the other is produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). The information in the article reflects data from the CE. The CE is the only Federal household survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers. It is published semi-annually with 2017 year end the most current. The PCE, which measures national consumer spending, is published monthly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and is the main workhorse that drives economic growth. Much research continues to be done on the differences in the final estimates of consumer spending between the CE and the PCE. In terms of furniture expenditures the CE always reflects a lower average household expenditure which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus the PCE.

Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey 2017, Bureau of Labor Statistics, which in 2017 calculated at a ratio of .63 versus Personal Consumption Expenditures published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see methodology box below “ Methodology: The CE versus the PCE”

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