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Share of British Furniture Production Industry in GDP Increasing

According to 2016 Furniture Industry Research Association statistics consumer expenditure on furniture and furnishings measured £16.7 billion in 2016, representing a 24% increase from 2013. Year-on-year growth from 2013 to 2015 was between 8-9%. However, growth from 2015 to 2016 was somewhat less, at 6%.

Speaking on this trend, Dr Pete Beele from the Furniture Industry Research Association and author of the Digest said “the full retail picture for 2017 has yet to emerge, but preliminary signs are good, despite some press speculation to the contrary. We saw sales continuing to rise in 2017 with first and second quarter consumer expenditures being between 5-6% higher than for the equivalent periods in 2016”. 

UK furniture manufacturers have continued to perform well over recent years with 2016 turnover reaching £8.4 billion; 4.5% higher than the previous year. Furniture warranted special mention in the latest statistics office manufacturing bulletin, highlighting that the recent percentage increase in sales was the third largest in the UK (behind motor vehicles and pharmaceuticals) and was driven by sales of wooden kitchen furniture and upholstered wooden framed seats such as three-piece suites.

Latest employment figures reinforce the importance of the industry to the UK economy with furniture manufacturing’s 88,000 employees representing almost 3.5% the country’s manufacturing workforce. It is estimated that the furniture and furnishings sector as a whole, including manufacturing, design, specialist retail, trade and repair comprises 50,000 registered companies supporting 327,000 jobs.