In 2013 the Upholstered Furniture market was worth an estimated £1.6bn (at MSP), with the domestic market accounting for around 90% in value terms and the contract sector 10%. The financial crisis and the ensuing decline in the housing market had a serious impact on consumer confidence, with ‘large ticket’ items suffering badly, particularly where loan facilities were involved. As a mature market, the high level of price competition amongst major retailers has also restricted value growth.
Although sales of 3 piece suites have declined, suites
consisting of a sofa and at least one other piece still account for 60% of the
market, with combinations of 2 sofas becoming a popular choice. Sales of single
sofas and convertibles represent an important part of the market, with a
combined share of around a third, while armchairs sold separately account for a
smaller share of the market. Sales of action
furniture have also increased slowly and now account for almost 20% of
the market, with most of the major manufacturers including such products in
The share of the total market held by leather furniture
continued to grow until the recessionary period, supported by the wide range of
styles and designs and the increasing use of leather in other furniture
sectors, home furnishings and accessories. The penetration rate has declined
since then, although most of this decline has been offset by the increasing
popularity of upholstery combining both fabric and leather finishes.
Imports of upholstered furniture reached their peak in
2006 at a level of £797.8m, but have since fallen to £710.3m in 2013 – around
40% of the market – with imports from China now accounting for the major share,
although Italy remains an important source, despite declining exports to the
UK. Exports have increased steadily since 2010, reaching £71.4m in 2013.
The supply structure of the upholstered furniture market
has changed dramatically over recent years following the sale of the Christie-Tyler subsidiaries. The furniture multiples continue to dominate the distribution
structure with almost 50% of the market.
The development of the market is likely to continue to be
influenced by the high level of price competition, although sectors such as
leather/fabric furniture and action furniture are expected to gain share. Sofas
and chairs are also expected to gain share at the expense of 3 piece suites, in
line with the growth of single person households, combined with the trend
towards smaller accommodation.
Multi-functional furniture has made inroads into a number
of furniture sectors in recent years, with storage an increasingly important
issue. Tailored designs and clean lines are expected to remain popular in line
with contemporary trends.
“The value of
imported products within the upholstered furniture market has increased in the
last three years, although the rate of penetration has not increased and this
should provide some respite to UK based manufacturers, who seem to have held
their own in those years, although pressures on price are sure to continue for
both suppliers and retailers” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research.
Total sales of upholstered furniture are forecast to
reach £1.9bn by 2018, following consistent growth in the 2014-2018 period.
Furniture and Beds Market Report - 2014-2018 Analysis’ report is published
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