What do Chinese consumers look for when furniture shopping?

In China, the middle class and wealthy younger generation are looking more for consumer experiences and emotional connection with the products they buy. Well-educated and with unique personal tastes, this new consumer class is willing to pay extra for products that reflect their personal aesthetic preferences, as described in the China Design Trends Report, produced by the Chinese design and trend analysis company Yang Design.

The report highlights four trends, “Playful Craftsmanship”, “I Dimension”, “Fine Distance” and “Sense Beyond” as key macro trends that will define the design and production of furniture for China’s future consumer market.

Swedish pine furniture falls under “Playful Craftsmanship” as it fits in with consumers’ demand for stories behind the product they are buying, said Charlotte Dedye Apelgren, director of Interior and Design at Swedish Wood. 

“The material is an important part of that story and Swedish wood is the perfect fit for consumers who demand honest, natural and sustainable materials.”

Coloured Swedish pine blocks at the China Design Trends Gallery in Shanghai demonstrate the ease of working with the material

Swedish wood is a renewable material sourced from sustainably managed Swedish forests, where at least two trees are planted for every one that is harvested. Swedish pine is also a high-quality material that is easy to craft and work with, making it excellent for both artisanal crafts and industrial production.

The pine products on show at the China Design Trends Gallery in Shanghai included vases, Dala horses and a small console table. Also on display were a range of treated pine surfaces that had been worked or coloured in various ways. The coloured surfaces were stained in red, dark brown and black.

“The most challenging part is how to transfer abstract concepts into colour, material and finish that correspond to every trend theme, in order to present the trends visually,” said Yang Design’s Strategy Director Xiaojing Huang.

The lack of craft artisans in China is also encouraging Chinese brands to shift to the high-end market segments and manufacture products of high quality that can be tailored to the customer’s preferences – known as premium craftsmanship.


Chinese consumer trends:

“I Dimension”: The younger generation, born in the 1990s, have now become mainstream consumers, but with a unique and avant-garde style. They live a connected life, they live in the moment, they indulge in self-interest and are sensitive, but they express strong emotions, for example through emojis. Normal life is full of craziness and radical responses.

“Fine Distance”: Almost drowning in a deluge of material and information, consumers want to reduce their anxiety levels and seek a more spiritual existence. Short meditation camps are becoming popular among stressed office workers, for example. Within this trend, design embraces new technology and is elitist, powerful, premium, with a sense of ceremony.

“Sense Beyond”: The stresses that people feel about issues such as global security, the national economy and air pollution are making them long for safety and protection. New technologies such as biotech and biointelligence are fulfilling this need. Design is open to endless possibilities through the new materials and new applications.