New Opportunities in the Furniture Industry resulted from Market Disruptions

Repurposing your living space into a work-friendly environment in the recent times has been much more complicated if you take longer delivery times and the rise in the prices into consideration. These changes can be traced back to disruptions in supply chains on a global scale, which are unfortunately here to stay for a while.

Taking the furniture industry into account, we are looking at a very traditional practice with two interesting new trends, redesign of the office furniture, and e-commerce sales. Manufacturers and distributors remain competitive in this challenging market with a need to adapt in these challenging and changing times. The main question here is what will it take to survive and thrive in this new market?

Increased Market Disruptions

Now that shipping has become much more expensive importing furniture is more challenging than ever. Because of this, many manufacturers have shifted production from China to other countries to offset the effects of these tariffs. Just as companies began figuring out how to reorganize the supply chain to minimize the impact of tariffs on their customers, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and caused additional disruption to production, delivery times, logistics, and availability of raw materials.

With manufacturers across the globe operating at reduced capacity because of the pandemic, then trying to respond to unusually high consumer demand as employees created productive at-home workspaces, the furniture industry supply chains have been under huge pressure.  Companies have had to learn to manage a leaner in-person staff handling scaled-back operations, while simultaneously navigating the complexity of logistics and freight. The goods now demand a higher price with materials harder to come by; it puts manufacturers and distributors in the position of increasing their sales prices, reducing profits, or both.

Companies now look to risk over multiple suppliers in different geographies, adding additional complexity to an already complex supply chain. Even though some companies are trying to be less dependent on China, it is not easy to find viable alternatives to Chinese manufacturers.

Amid these market disruptions, the way that consumers are choosing to shop – as well as what they’re shopping for – is also shifting.

Increased Market Disruptions

Earlier, furniture had been considered a product that consumers must touch and see in person before buying. Usually, interest in online sales was typically low; however, with the introduction of augmented reality (AR) tools, combined with more accurate product descriptions and customer-friendly return policies, consumers have begun to feel more comfortable buying furniture online.

Gen Z and Millennial buyers – now the largest market segment, are extremely comfortable shopping online – even when it comes to furniture. Traditional physical stores are less necessary because the rapid growth of e-commerce sales is transforming the furniture industry.

Redesign of office furniture

In 2020, the global office furniture market reached a value of $71 billion. The pandemic hit the office furniture business especially hard when businesses closed their doors and shifted work to home offices. The pressure is on to innovate in this industry.

How will modular office environments be redesigned to convey a sense of physical space without the blandness and claustrophobia of a typical cubical? Solutions point to more versatile and lighter modular elements, to more easily reconfigure spaces based on the needs of the moment or the team, and to more ergonomic and comfortable furniture that could be used in a work or home office.

Picking the right furniture and creating an ideal working environment is increasingly important to employee retention; it also comes as an opportunity for companies to reflect and promote their brand.

Dark wood, bulky furniture, and carpeted floors suggest a sense of tradition and antiquity. Industrial-style furniture in a space with plenty of natural light and wooden floors, and large windows, suggests a company that is cutting edge, while modern European-style furniture, light natural colors and natural flooring conveys a trendier image.