America’s imports of wooden furniture grew 11% in 2015 while new furniture orders increased 4% over 2014, according to the Smith Leonhard industry survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors.
Just over half of the companies surveyed reported higher orders in 2015 compared to the previous year. Furniture shipments were also up 6% with almost two-thirds of companies reporting higher shipments in 2015.
Inventory levels at distributors and manufacturers were slightly up in December compared to the previous month, but 7% higher than in December 2014. It appears inventory built earlier in the year remained higher because orders declined towards the end of 2015.
Retail sales at furniture stores in the U.S. increased 4% in December from the previous month, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Furniture sales were 6% higher than in December 2014.
2016 however will likely see a slowdown, according to Smith Leonhard. Advance estimates for retail sales at furniture and home furnishing stores for January 2016 indicate sales were only slightly up (+1.6%) from January last year. Consumer confidence declined February. The housing market may be recovering but rising home prices may slow overall sales.