Europe plays a key role in the global furniture industry not only in terms of production but also in terms of market and international trade values. Europe remains the second largest furniture manufacturing region in the world and it is the headquarters of some of the biggest and most important global players. Germany, Italy, and Poland are the main exporting countries at a global level. Europe has a long history of furniture manufacturing. the industry can combine new technologies and innovation with cultural heritage, tradition, and style, providing jobs for skilled workers and is also a world leader in the high-end segment of the furniture market. Increase in rising consumption is one of the key factors impelling the growth of the Europe furniture market. The Europe furniture market growth in future will arrive by growing demand for eco–friendly furniture, modern & luxury furniture, hotels & restaurants, raw materials from suppliers, reduction of high-cost transportation to manufacturers.
The Furniture market is divided into seven segments: Living Room and Dining Room Furniture, Bedroom Furniture, Kitchen Furniture, Plastic and Other Furniture, Office Furniture, Lamps and Lighting, and Floor Covering. Due to rising living standards and a higher income, consumers are replacing their furniture more frequently. The EU furniture market value was estimated to be worth around 96 EUR billion in 2020, with the market share of around 20% of the total market value of furniture industry in the world.
The Furniture market is mostly driven by consumer spending
The Furniture market is mostly driven by consumer spending in general. Consumer spending takes various factors into account; such as per-capita income, household debt levels, and consumer expectations. The steady increase in disposable income and the consequent rise in living standards are responsible for the continuous growth of the market, as is the constant demand for furniture. The growing number of internet and smartphone users has not only changed consumer behavior, but has also fundamentally changed the sales channels and retail landscape. The adoption of online shopping by consumers has made furniture one of the fastest growing markets in that regard.
Why the EU furniture industry is important
- Employment – the sector employs around 1 million workers in 130 thousand companies generating an annual turnover of around EUR 96 billion;
- Trend setting – EU furniture manufacturers set global trends. About 12% of designs registered in the European Union Intellectual Property Office relate to this sector;
- High-end segment – the EU is a world leader in the high-end segment of the furniture market. Nearly two out of every three high-end furniture products sold in the world are produced in the EU.
Opportunities for the furniture sector
- The EU furniture sector has undergone significant changes to make it more export-oriented and to focus on upgrading quality, design, and innovation. These changes include restructuring, technological advances, and business model innovations. The main opportunities ahead lie in:
- Investment – continuing investment in skills, design, creativity, research, innovation, and new technologies can result in new products which are in line with the changing population structure, lifestyles and trends, as well as with new business models and supplier-consumer relationships.
- Research – research in advanced manufacturing technologies can result in the creation of high technology and knowledge intensive jobs, which would give the sector the attractiveness it needs to attract employees from younger generations. This could help rejuvenate the sector while keeping it highly competitive on the world stage.
- Access to new markets – EU furniture manufacturers are recognised worldwide for their quality and design. This creates opportunities for the sector to further seize other markets, in particular in high-end segments and emerging economies.
- Synergies – with construction and tourism could also be exploited, building on the sector’s excellent track record in sustainability. Specifically, the reliance on raw materials from sustainable sources used in the furniture production could have a positive impact on sales among environmentally concerned end-users.
Raising Furniture Online Sales in the Market
Ecommerce is increasing in Europe as customers prefer to shop online instead of physical stores. The changing trends in the home and living concepts are transforming the buying patterns of customers. The emergence of new opportunities for customers to shop through online is one of the key factors boosting the online purchase of furniture such as chairs, storage files, tables, and desks. The trend for online shopping of furniture will continue to evolve due to the availability of 24/7 customer support, online shipment tracking, cheaper costs, and a wide range of merchandise. Thus, with the growing demand for online distribution channel, the Europe furniture market is expected to showcase a positive outlook during the forecast period. Customers prefer online buying due to the convenience and comfort of logistics and shipping of furniture items to their doorstep.
The largest furniture segments
The Furniture market’s largest segment is the Living Room and Dining Room Furniture segment. It includes furniture found in living rooms, parlors, lounges, lobbies and dining rooms. The segment is especially propelled by consumer’s need for comfort in their homes. Second largest segment is the bedroom furniture that includes everyday bedroom items such as beds, mattresses as well as closets, nightstands and dressers. In the rather conservative bedroom furniture market, innovation comes from retailers focusing on offering comfort and convenience directly to consumers. The third largest segment is kitchen furniture which growth is is driven by improvements in materials and designs which are used to provide consumers a wider range of products.
New trends in the furniture industry
The following trends currently shape the market: augmented reality apps, generative designs, eco-friendly materials, and integrated technology. From 3D-printed furniture to smart lightening, the Furniture market is experiencing innovations in design, production, and material.
Information sources: European Commission, Mordor Intelligence, ResearchAndMarkets.com, statista.com