Furniture Market Returns To Pre-COVID Attendance, Sales

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High Point, NC–Furniture market attendees here said it was the first “normal” market since the pandemic began and the mix of domestic and international products was balancing but the retail hangover from strong sales of 2021 and the first half of 2022 lingers.

The past two years have been very positive for domestic furniture manufacturers as consumers were forced to stay home because of COVID. There was disposable income available and a desire to upgrade living spaces with fresh looks and new products.
Retail warehouses were emptied in 2021 and manufacturers struggled to meet the demand. Furniture retailers were forced to wait because of supply chain breakdowns and higher prices for freight on imported containers. They turned to domestic makers to provide the goods that consumers demanded.

That changed in June 2022 as the economy slowed and inflation rose, said many retailers and furniture makers at the recent Fall High Point Market. There were crowds in town to see new products and discuss trends for 2023, but buying was down compared to the previous 12 months.

“It was a good market and buyers were looking for product to fill in areas where they have gaps,” said Doug Bassett, president of Vaughn-Bassett Furniture. “Stores have a lot of inventory right now and inflation is impacting sales. People are spending that money on other things.”

Most manufacturers said the furniture industry has been in a recession since early summer, with reported orders off 30 percent or more. Higher priced goods are still in demand which is good news for solid wood producers.
American Drew Furniture and Kincaid Furniture showrooms had new products in a mix of solids and veneers. The species included Oak, Ash and Maple solids.

“It was a good market for us with interest in our Walnut designs,” said Jorge Rangel, president of Trra Furniture of Mexico. “People still want nice pieces for their homes with a different look than what other people have. We were very successful with buyers.”

Trra Furniture sources Walnut from the U.S. and its contemporary designs showcase the beauty of the wood with natural finishes. The company had bedroom and cased goods introductions.
Bassett Furniture expanded several existing lines in Oak and Maple species with new finishes. The stains highlighted the grain in American Oak and Soft Maple in its Benchmade collection.

The company maintained an emphasis on the sustainability of the resource from American forests.
Domestic upholstery is in high demand, as retailers prefer U.S. goods to reduce lead times and dependency on international supply chains. Demand for frame stock Hardwoods is expected to be strong into 2023.

Attendance at the High Point Market was up 8.7 percent compared to fall 2021 numbers and 5.3 percent higher than attendance in April. International buyers, who hadn’t been able to attend recent markets were back with an increase of 45 percent. The High Point Market Authority reported there were 1,689 brands represented at the show.
The next High Point Market is April 22-26, 2023.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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