Furniture imports and exports during November show annual decline

Furniture imports during November 2023 declined on the same month last year while exports into the UK were also down.

According to the latest UK trade data, analysed by Big Furniture Group, total imports of furniture into Britain valued £832.2m in November 2023, down 8.53% from £909.9m against the same month the previous year.

Imports from the EU registered a marginal increase of 0.08% to £424.5m from £424.2m, with Finland experiencing the highest growth rate of 125%, up from £956,000 to £2.1m. Imports from Poland and Italy were the highest in value terms, representing £86.6m (up 29%) and £82m (up 0.6%) respectively. German imports followed at £62.8m, while imports from France totalled £40.2m – both declining 13.5% and 8.9%.

As for outside the EU, total imports fell 16% to a value of £407.6m from £485.6m. Chinese imports were down 14.3% to £288.1m, while USA was also down by 8.5% to £26.5m. Imports from Switzerland rose 49% to £3.2m, while another notable increase came from Morocco, up 34.4% to £9.8m.

Moving to exports, the total value of UK furniture leaving the country declined 2.4% to £255.8m from £262.3m. In Europe, exports rose 6.26% to £141.7m from £133.3m, with Portugal a much-improved destination, valuing £1.5m, up 207%. As for the main markets, exports to France rose 52% to £36.9m, while Germany posted a decline of 22.9% to £21m. Irish exports reduced 1.2% to £31m, with the Netherlands also declining 8.7% to £11.6m.

Outside the EU saw exports fall 11.5% to £114.1m from £128.9m. Exports to China were down 60% to £5.7m, with Australia rising 40% to £4.4m. Colombia saw a significant uptick by 3,674%, valuing £1.1m, up from just £30,000. Exports to the USA rose 18% to £52.6m, as did exports to UAE, up 31% to £10.2m.

Looking into four main sectors of the market, these include upholstery, mattresses, cabinet and carpets.

Upholstery

Total upholstery imports into the UK were down 8.8% to £177.3m. Imports from the EU were down 3.5% to £77.5m, while outside the EU also declined 12.6% to £99.8m. Imports from Poland rose 25% to £31m, while Chinese imports fell 7.6% to a value of £86.6m year-on-year.

Exports totalled £23.7m, down by 39%, as EU exports declined 14% to £17m and non-EU down 65% to £6.6m. Exports to France did buck the trend, rising 38% to £6.1m, while exports to the USA fell 31% to £1.9m.

Mattresses

Total mattress imports into the UK fell 2% to £20.2m, with EU imports down by 17% to £12.4m. Outside the EU, imports increased 39% to £7.8m. Denmark saw an uplift in imports by 61% to £3.6m, while Chinese imports rose 36% to £5.5m.

Exports totalled £5.3m, up 13% year-on-year. EU exports fell 16% to £2.5m, while non-EU exports rose 65% to £2.8m. Top destinations included Ireland, although this was down 27% to £901,000, while the USA rose 86% to £1m.

Cabinet

Total cabinet imports into the UK fell 15% to £341m as EU imports declined 7.6% to £195m and non-EU imports decreased 24% to £145.9m. Imports from Italy rose 3% to £52.4m, while German imports fell 19% to £35.1m. Chinese imports were also down by 18% to £94.8m.

Exports totalled £85.9m, registering a slight uptick of 0.86%. EU exports remained flat at a value of £52.3m, while non-EU exports rose 2% to £33.5m. Ireland experienced a decline by 7% to £14.9m, while the USA rose 18% to £16.1m. The UAE also increased 23% to a value of £2.3m.

Carpets

Total carpet imports into the UK were down 3% to £79.4m. EU imports fell 12% to £48m, while non-EU imports rose 14% to £31.4m. The Netherlands suffered a decline of 26% to £17.4m, as did Belgium, down 13% to £16.2m. Imports from India rose 16% to £7.8m, while Turkey also increased, up 36% to £15.1m.

Exports totalled £24.2m, an increase of 15%. Exports into the EU rose 17% to £17.4m, while also rising 10% to non-EU at a value of £6.7m. Exports to the Netherlands increased 28% to £4m, while to the USA, exports fell 26% to £2.2m

Full list of imports and exports by country and value

For monthly data and all other annual changes, download the full report below.

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