The first half of 2016 was a busy time for the furnishings industry both stateside and abroad. New technologies emerged, ready-to-assemble furniture grew in popularity, and alternative materials were promoted as viable sources for manufacturing products. To discover more about these topics and other notable events impacting the sector, continue reading.
Three-Dimensional (3D) Technology is Introduced
Serving all industries utilizing textiles and composite materials, Lectra unveiled its latest technological creation at the Furniture Makers’ Hall in London. The event drew in professionals from trade, press, and manufacturing backgrounds. All were interested in seeing how the 3D technology, dubbed DesignConcept Furniture, would help produce cost-efficient furnishings in larger quantities.
The showcase included a preview of the design and development process, which shortened traditional design time by 30 percent and prototyping turnaround by half. The company intends to share the software globally. It hopes DesignConcept Furniture will even the playing ground for companies competing against those in developing countries, as those areas have invested much of their resources toward establishing new furniture manufacturing facilities and enhancing design services.
Germany Experiences Growth
The furniture industry is booming in Germany. The country earned nearly 1.26 billion in Euros at the end of January, which was nearly a 1 percent hike from the same time in 2015. Exports also increased by nearly 3 percent year-over-year.
Just a month later, double-digit growth was achieved; the German furniture industry garnered over 1.53 billion in Euros, which meant turnover jumped 10.2 percent from the prior year, according to the Federal Statistical Office and the Verband der Deutschen Mobelindustrie. Increases in domestic and export turnover contributed greatly to this, improving by 8.5 and 14.2 percent, respectively.
Ghana Seeks Changes to Wood
In June, representatives from Ghana discussed what changes should be made to preserve the country’s local wood industry. Among the topics addressed was the use of different wood species, specifically the bamboo plant. Grown in abundance throughout the country’s forests, the material is not heavily sourced by furniture manufacturers, but should be for its economic value.
Transitioning efforts to designing furnishings made of bamboo is expected to preserve the local timber sector, thus making it possible to continue furniture production. Other topics of discussion included the need to improve communication regarding the quality of locally-produced furniture to reduce furniture imports, and to conduct research on the influence of population and real estate growth as it impacts the demand and supply of furniture.
Extension Approved for Cut-and-Sew Job Tax Credit
In May, the Mississippi furniture industry celebrated the continuation of a tax credit for cut-and-sew professions. The $2,000 tax credit, which will not expire until January of 2019, was first introduced in 2010 as an incentive for people to join the furniture industry.
The goal was to increase the size of the workforce, which consisted of 20,000 people at the time, by adding 10,000 more jobs to the local economy. Unfortunately, the credit was not utilized as heavily as expected, and the size of the workforce remained the same. However, the director of Franklin Furniture Institute at Mississippi State University stated in an article by The Virginian Pilot that 1,400 more jobs had been added since the middle of 2014.
To keep pace with growing furnishings demand, the director is collaborating with community colleges to offer training essential for excelling in the furniture industry. The training will complement the tax credit extension.
Manufacturers Revisit “Reshoring”
“Reshoring” represents the action of bringing offshore jobs back to American soil. It includes the population of businesses that outsources jobs presently, as well as those that would have outsourced jobs to other countries five to 10 years ago.
While the move to reshore jobs will not eliminate the use of manufacturing plants abroad, it helps balance the quantity of jobs leaving the United States with those that are being created domestically. Among the companies supporting the initiative are those in the textile and furniture industries. Participants from the textile industry promote products labeled “Made in America” in an attempt to increase awareness and demand.
Furniture manufacturers and distributors hope to gain more traction as well. As of the end of May, six large suppliers have committed themselves to reshoring. Of the six, five have a presence in North Carolina, formerly nicknamed the Furniture Capital of the World.
Positive Returns Expected in the Global Furniture Market
Declared the world’s largest market and research store, Research and Market released its Global Bedroom Furniture Market 2016-2020 report in April. The report indicated a growing trend in flat-pack and ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture, which is expected to positively influence future compound annual growth rate (CAGR). In fact, CAGR has an anticipated growth of 3.4 percent because flat-pack and RTA furniture makes it possible to produce more products that can be shipped in larger quantities.
For a more comprehensive overview of the impact of both types of furniture, the report focuses on home bedroom and upholstered pieces as well as mattresses and complementary items. The data is then broken down by region. All information provided takes into account analysis from knowledgeable industry professionals.