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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 Stores Top Selling Months: 
Big Sales Events and Monthly Index of Furniture Sales

This is the first factoid in a series of four factoids detailing monthly Furniture Store sales and the top selling times of the year to buy furniture and home furnishings. Many life events spur home furnishings purchases. But along with buying a new home, marriage, and having children, the time of the year plays an important part in overall Furniture Store sales. 

Economic events can always alter consumer confidence, but the overall monthly ebb and flow of Furniture Store sales has changed through the years. Once the pinnacle of furniture purchases, the November/December holiday season has lost some of its sales glamour, not only with furniture but will all consumer products as a total group. It is still the biggest season in total retail sales of consumer goods, but no doubt the 4th quarter has lost market share. For Furniture Stores, May and August have always been steady and strong, but March has emerged as a huge sales month. Online filing of income tax returns has resulted in quick returns for the end of February and especially throughout March. 

Throughout the 1990’s and up until the mid 2000s leading up to the Great Recession, November and December trended as the largest sales months for Furniture Stores, often combining to capture 18 percent to 19 percent of annual sales. The exception was in December 2002 and 2007 when economic downturns and uncertainty impacted Furniture Store performance in December. However, since coming out of the Great Recession, the entire 4th quarter has garnered less importance to the Furniture Industry. 

Note that an index of 100 represents the average month (annual sales divided by 12 months). An index of 115, for example, indicates sales were 15 percent higher this month than the average.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services

Home Furnishings Prices Continue Four Year Decline : Medical, Drug, Education, and Childcare Prices

Factoid

This is the final factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the decline of prices among Furniture and Home Furnishings as well as many other major consumer items. The prices of consumer items grew steadily coming out of the recession for virtually all broad product categories until 2012 to 2014, when Durable Goods, including furniture, appliances, and electronics, along with Non Durables, and Commodities began to decline.  The Services sector, led by skyrocketing medical costs, is the only broad group continuing to see large price increases. (See Interpreting the CPI in the first factoid of this series.)

By far the largest increases in prices come from the Medical Industry. Aside from Health Insurance which has fluctuated since 2010 with the introduction of Obamacare, all medical services and drug prices have maintained an upward trajectory. Hospital Care alone is up to 30.5 percent in 2010 to 2016. All other physician services, dental services, and prescription drug costs have grown between 16.5 percent and 22.8 percent. Even medical care for your pet is skyrocketing growing over 20 percent since 2010.

Education for all ages along with and childcare costs are close behind medical care in services that have sharply increased over the past six years. Up to an index of 126.1 in 2016, College Tuition and Fees have jumped an average of 4 percentage points per year. Consistently on an incline, childcare has increased 14.6 percent points from 2010 to 2016. 

Source: Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics *2016 data through 3rd quarter

Home Furnishings Prices Continue Four Year Decline | New Vehicles, Gasoline, Food, and Beverage Prices

 

This is the fourth factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the decline of prices among Furniture and Home Furnishings as well as many other major consumer items. The prices of consumer items grew steadily coming out of the recession for virtually all broad product categories until 2012 to 2014, when Durable Goods, including furniture, appliances, and electronics, along with Non Durables, and Commodities began to decline.  The Services sector, led by skyrocketing medical costs, is the only broad group continuing to see large price increases. (See Interpreting the CPI in the first factoid of this series.)

New cars and trucks is one Durable Goods area that has seen steady price increases, up 6.8 percent since 2010.  On the flip side, however, is that while cars have become more expensive, gasoline prices have become cheaper. Gas prices peaked in 2012 at levels 30.8 percent above 2010, but began their decline three years ago.  In 2016 the price of gasoline is down 23.4 percent down from 2010 .

Food, both groceries and restaurant prices, have experienced overall growth from 2010 to 2016. Food away from home showed the most growth – increasing 16 percentage points.

Source: Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics *2016 data through 3rd quarter

Home Furnishings Prices Continue Four Year Decline | Television and Cable and Computer and Electronic Services

This is the third factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the decline of prices among Furniture and Home Furnishings as well as many other major consumer items. The prices of consumer items grew steadily coming out of the recession for virtually all broad product categories until 2012 to 2014, when Durable Goods, including furniture, appliances, and electronics, along with Non Durables, and Commodities began to decline.  The Services sector, led by skyrocketing medical costs, is the only broad group continuing to see large price increases. (See Interpreting the CPI in the first factoid of this series.)

In many electronics categories, the price of the durable good has fallen while the cost of operating that product has increased. For example, Television prices have dropped dramatically, but the cost of programming services has skyrocketed. The price of televisions has fallen 65 percentage points since 2010 or about 16 percent a year.  During the same time period, Cable and Satellite Television and Radio Services have jumped a total of 17 percentage points – a roughly 4 percent yearly increase.

Similar to Televisions, Personal Computer prices continue to fall – down 41.6 percentage points in six years. Surprising to some, Wireless Telephone Service prices are also down, while Internet Services have stayed steady with a slight increase of 0.5 points from 2010 to 2016. 

Source: Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics *2016 data through 3rd quarter

Home Furnishings Prices Continue Four Year Decline | Housing and Furniture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the second factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the decline of prices among Furniture and Home Furnishings as well as many other major consumer items. The prices of consumer items grew steadily coming out of the recession for virtually all broad product categories until 2012 to 2014, when Durable Goods, including furniture, appliances, and electronics, along with Non Durables, and Commodities began to decline.  The Services sector, led by skyrocketing medical costs, is the only broad group continuing to see large price increases. (See Interpreting the CPI in the first factoid of this series.)

Except for home furnishings and operations, housing and home energy costs have grown over the past six years. Both Rent and Home prices have crept up an average of 3 percent (Rent) and 2 percent (Homes) a year – resulting in overall growth of 18.6 and 15.7 percentage points. And while Household Energy prices peaked at an index of 106.8 in 2014, prices quickly fell back down this year to just 1 percent growth since 2010. With Rent and Home prices growing, consumers may have fewer disposable dollars available for Household Furnishings and Operations which are both below 2010’s index by 2.9 percent.

Focusing on Household Home Furnishings prices, the accessories category (Clocks, Lamps, and Decorator Items) has the most negative price growth – dropping 29.1 percentage points since 2010. Major Appliances is second with a 13.9 percent decline. Furniture and Bedding, Window Coverings, and Floor Coverings all experienced slightly less negative growth – falling between 3.9 percent and 8.8 percent from 2010 to 2016.

The CPI breaks Furniture into three broad categories – (1) Living Room including Upholstery, Kitchen, and Dining Room, (2) Bedroom including Bedding, and (3) Other Furniture. All three categories are down in price from 2010. Bedroom Furniture experienced small price increases leading up to 2012, most likely via Mattresses, but has declined steadily in price since then. Currently Bedroom and Bedding is down 4.9 percent from 2010 prices. Living Room, Kitchen, and Dining Room Furniture peaked at 102.1 index in 2012 before falling to 96.1 this year, a level 3.9 percent below 2010.

Source: Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics *2016 data through 3rd quarter

Industry Sales by Quarter 2009 Q4 to 2016 Q4 Bedding Industry

Fourth quarter is traditionally Bedding’s lowest sales period. In keeping with this seasonality, 2016 Q4 sales were down 12.5 percent over the traditionally highest third quarter. On a positive note, fourth quarter sales of $3.3 billion were up 3.4 percent over the same fourth quarter of 2015. For the year, the Bedding industry totaled $14.1 billion, up 2.0 percent over 2015.

The slow growth in 2016 in the Bedding industry is reflected in the quarter-over-quarter increase from 2015 to 2016. Bedding sales in the fourth quarter this year were up 3.4 percent quarter over quarter totaling $3.3 billion.

The Bedding industry grew a modest 2.0% in 2016 totaling $14.1 billion.

Source:  Impact Consulting Services, Inc. industry model.

Industry Sales by Quarter 2009 Q4 to 2016 Q4 Furniture & Bedding

Industry Sales by Quarter 2009 Q4 to 2016 Q4 Furniture & Bedding

The furniture industry continued its slow by steady growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, although the rate of growth slowed considerably in the second half of the year. Combined furniture and bedding sales grew 2.6 percent compared to the same quarter in 2015 to $24.7 billion. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, the fourth quarter grew 1.1 percent.

The industry finished the year at $96.57 billion, a 3.4 percent growth over 2015.

Furniture (excluding Bedding) in the fourth quarter increased 2.4 percent compared to the same quarter in 2015 totaling $21.4 billion. Compared to the third quarter of 2016, furniture only sales are up 3.5 percent. Year end furniture sales (excluding Bedding) are up 3.6 percent.

The Bedding industry has experienced a disappointing year.  Historically the fourth quarter is Bedding’s slowest sales period, and 2016 was no different.  However, on a positive note sales did increase 3.4 percent over the same fourth quarter of 2015, but were down 12.5 percent from the Q3 of 2016. Bedding sales totaled $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter. Year end sales are up 2.0 percent 2015 to 2016 to $14.1 billion.

Industry Growth Quarter to Quarter 2013 Q4 to 2016 Q4 Furniture & Bedding

Industry sales are still growing, but at a slower pace than previous years, especially in the second half of 2016. Fourth quarter 2016 combined Furniture and Bedding sales of $24.7 billion were a 2.6 percent improvement over the same Q4 in 2015. Compared to last quarter (2016 Q3) sales were up a modest 1.1 percent.

Furniture (excluding Bedding) increased 2.4 percent in 2016 Q4 versus the same quarter of 2015 with sales of $21.4 billion.

Bedding quarter-over-quarter sales totaled $3.3 billion, up 3.4 percent over third quarter of 2015.

Industry Sales 2009 YE to 2016 YE Furniture & Bedding

Home Furnishings Prices Continue Four Year Decline All Consumer Items and Broad Consumer Item Category

This is the first factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the decline of prices among Furniture and Home Furnishings as well as many other major consumer items. The prices of consumer items grew steadily coming out of the recession for virtually all broad product categories until 2012 to 2014, when Durable Goods, including furniture, appliances, and electronics, along with Non Durables, and Commodities began to decline.  The Services sector, led by skyrocketing medical costs, is the only broad group continuing to see large price increases.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all consumer items increased 9.9 percentage points over the last six years – an average of 1.6 percent a year. Meanwhile, the purchasing power of the dollar decreased with time – declining 9 percentage points since 2010.

Durable Goods has been the worst performing sector in price growth compared to Non Durables, Services, and Commodities. Durable Goods prices grew slightly coming out of the recession, but began declining in 2012, and this year is 3.3 percentage points below 2010. With a constant upward trajectory, the price all of consumer Services has increased 14.4 percentage points from 2010 to 2016 –due in part to escalating medical costs.

Source: Consumer Price Index, Bureau of Labor Statistics *2016 data through 3rd quarter

Interpreting the CPI: The Consumer Price Index is defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the measure of the average change overtime in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. The CPI-U (Consumer Price Index – Urban Consumers) represents all urban consumers, about 89 percent of total U.S. population. This article focuses on the Consumer Price Index from 2010 to 2016.  To interpret the CPI note that the base year indexes is always shown as 100.  The index for subsequent years indicates the percentage growth over that base year.  For example, an index in the year 2013 of 119.3 indicates the price of that consumer item has grown 19.3 percent since the base year of 2010. On the other hand, an index of 86.2 indicates the price of that item has fallen 13.8 percent.  Each year represents the growth over the base year.

A Disappointing 3rd Quarter for the Furniture Industry Housing Starts Percent Growth by Quarter

This is the final factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the weakened 3rd quarter of 2016. The first quarter of 2016 in the furniture and bedding industry started off continuing the 5 percent plus growth over the previous year for all quarters in 2015. But as the year wore on, subsequent quarters did not perform to those levels. Quarter two fell to 3.7 percent growth and quarter three fell to 3.0 percent growth over quarter the same quarters of 2015. Year-end sales in 2015 totaled $92.5 billion. Third quarter year-to-date industry sales reached $71.5 billion, a 3.0 percent increase over the first three quarters last year.

The furniture industry, aside from demographics, is driven by economic influencers and catalysts – detailed in factoids two and three of this series. Continuing from the fourth factoid, this factoid expounds on the housing market and its possible correlation with the furniture industry by focusing on the quarterly growth of Housing Starts.

Despite the strong third quarter in new home sales, housing starts did not keep up the momentum. Single-family unit starts increased by only 1.9 percent from 2015 Q3 to 2016 Q3. Third quarter annualized starts totaled 759,000 single-family units. On a positive note, September starts were at the highest level since last February and the year should end with over 13 percent growth.

For multi-family units, the picture is not so bright. After a flurry of building in 2014 and 2015, starts are off significantly in the 3rd quarter of 2016. While the first quarter of 2016 experienced 5.2 percent growth, the second and third quarters have posted negative growth of 9.5 percent and 7.7 percent respectively.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

A Disappointing 3rd Quarter for the Furniture Industry Housing Industry Percent Growth by Quarter

This is the fourth factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the weakened 3rd quarter of 2016. The first quarter of 2016 in the furniture and bedding industry started off continuing the 5 percent plus growth over the previous year for all quarters in 2015. But as the year wore on, subsequent quarters did not perform to those levels. Quarter two fell to 3.7 percent growth and quarter three fell to 3.0 percent growth over quarter the same quarters of 2015. Year-end sales in 2015 totaled $92.5 billion. Third quarter year-to-date industry sales reached $71.5 billion, a 3.0 percent increase over the first three quarters last year.

The furniture industry, aside from demographics, is driven by economic influencers and catalysts. The previous two factoids detail two year quarterly growth of the Gross Domestic Product, Payroll Employment, and Consumer Price Index, Unemployment Rates and Consumer Confidence. The final two factoids will focus on quarterly growth of the  Housing Industry and it’s tie into the Furniture Industry. Nothing impacts furniture industry growth perhaps more than home sales both existing and new.

Existing Home Sales. Home re-sales experienced healthy first and second quarters this year growing 5.0 and 4.2 percent from 2015. However, 2016 Q3 dropped 0.4 percent from 2015 Q3. At an annualized rate, third quarter existing home sales totaled 5.3 million units.

New Home Sales. Part of the third quarter decline in existing home sales this year is offset by new single-family home sales that surged 23.1 percent in the third quarter to an annualized rate of 599,000 units. After double-digit growth in 2015, 2016 year started with very slow growth in the first quarter of 1.6 percent. The second quarter rebounded, however, to 14.5 percent increase followed by the third quarter surge.

Source: *National Association of Realtors; **U.S. Census Bureau

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