America, the queen of furniture

In recent years, the United States, alongside China, has established itself as a leading player in the international furniture market. In 2015 – the year of the latest available data, reported in ‘Focus USA’ by the Italian FederlegnoArredo association’s research center –, the US imported 38.6 billion euro of furniture, a 32% increase over the previous year, confirming its position as the top destination worldwide for the global furniture industry. The main suppliers of furniture (excluding furniture accessories and bathroom furniture) to the US are China (57% with a value of over 22 billion euro), Mexico (10%), Vietnam (8%), Canada (8%) and Italy (2%).

The American furniture market is valued at an estimated 96.4 billion dollars by FBIC’s Global Retail & Technology report, which forecasts growth of 2.9% per year until 2019. Distribution is dominated by large chain stores, which have increasingly merged since 2010. The top 100 retail chains account for 79% of furniture and household product sales. The market is very competitive, involving many of the best-known brands in the world. Furniture exporters to the USA carefully monitor America’s most dynamic economies, not only New York and the East Coast, but also those of the Mid-West and West Coast: Oregon, Texas and California – especially the cities of Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco –, and cities such as Atlanta and Chicago. There are also positive estimates for the construction and real estate market over the next five years.

Companies are continuing to closely observe millennials in order to understand future trends. In recent years, their impact on the sector was reduced as a result of the slight decrease in the number of 18-34 year-old Americans that live without depending on their families: these numbered 42.7 million in 2007 (71% of the age group), versus 42.2 million in 2015 (67%). Meanwhile, millennial homeowners numbered 25.2 million in 2007, compared to 25 million in 2015.

Many large US furniture retailers are optimistic about 2017. They expect the new Trump administration to keep its promises with regard to simplifying legislation and reducing taxes and anticipate a favorable climate for the economy.