Furniture is big business in the UK, generating £12 billion of business every year and contributing export revenues of almost £1 billion. It’s also been changing in recent years, reflecting shifting consumer demand.
A sizeable chunk of the UK market has moved away from generic, low or medium-quality beds, chairs, tables and cabinets.
For some people, the motivation has been about aesthetics and taste. UK customers have become more concerned with style and interior design, opening up new markets for bespoke furniture manufacturers. TV shows promoting design, rising wealth and the booming property market in many areas has encouraged consumers to invest in high quality furniture from smaller manufacturers.
Another consideration is sustainability. Many consumers do not trust large furniture companies to respect the environment, but feel differently about SMEs in the furniture sector.
Many smaller furniture makers have embraced sustainable design, blending high quality with wood and recycled materials that have a lower environmental cost. At a time of high concern about climate change, local businesses are becoming more and more popular.
Imports Have Grown, But So Has Demand for High Quality Furniture
The growth in the number of importers in the UK has grown which has affected the big brands, but has had less effect on smaller manufacturers who can concentrate on local markets or specific sectors.
Some businesses have chosen to source their furniture cost-effectively from abroad, but many office based businesses have shown a desire to purchase high quality furnishings which can showcase their taste and create impressive designs.
These trends have come together to create a promising business context for specialist furniture manufacturers, but one that remains competitive. If you are a small or medium sized furniture manufacturer, the situation could be positive, but any firm can benefit from increasing their business efficiency.
This is why more and more firms are turning to manufacturing IT specialists like WinMan to make their processes as lean and effective as possible.