The United States and Canada are the world’s largest trading partners, sharing a longstanding and mutually beneficial trade relationship. The furniture industry is a shining example of this special relationship, as the United States is one of Canada’s most significant
sources of furniture and furnishing products. Recessionary pressures, compounded by a high Canadian dollar, saw Canada’s total furniture imports decrease in 2009. However, the United States remains Canada’s largest supplier of furniture and as the economy recovers, industry analysts expect the international trade of furniture to grow, creating valuable potential opportunities for U.S. manufacturers.
This report will analyze the furniture market and its sub-sectors, and highlight opportunities available to U.S. furniture companies. This report also contains data on market size, market trends, cross-border trade statistics, best prospects, market demand, market entry
requirements, export opportunities, trade shows, and other industry resources.
The Canadian Furniture Industry is comprised of household furniture including mattresses (37%), office and institutional furniture (44%), wooden kitchen cabinets and counter tops, (16%) and blinds and shades (3%). The Furniture Industry is made up of a number of subsectors: furniture and related product manufacturing (NAICS 337), household and institutional furniture (NAICS 3371), institutional furniture manufacturing (NAICS 3377), office furniture (NAICS 3372), and other furniture related to product manufacturing (NAICS 3379).
Products included in NAICS 337 are wooden furniture, metal furniture, contract furniture, office furniture, household furniture, kitchen furniture, upholstered furniture (sofas and armchairs), living room furniture, dining room furniture, non-upholstered seats (chairs), bedroom furniture, beds, wardrobes, outdoor furniture, ready-to-assemble furniture, seat parts, parts of furniture, sawn wood, wood-based panels, plywood, veneer sheets, particle board panels, fiberboard panels, MDF (medium density fiberboard), and woodworking
In light of the economic downturn in 2009, Canada’s furniture exports also declined in 2009. According to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, total exports in furniture and related product-manufacturing (NAICS 337) for 2009 was $2.9 billion, 36% less than 2008’s $4.5
billion. Canada became a net importer of furniture in 2008 and continued to be in 2009.
Canadian furniture-industry shipments to retailers in the United States also continued to decrease in 2009, falling 27% from the previous year. The main factors for this are the growth of Chinese furniture manufacturing, the strong Canadian dollar, and the weakening
of the U.S. dollar.
The chief partner in office furniture trading with the United States is Canada, receiving about 50% of American office furniture exports. In 2000, Canada was the largest exporter of office furniture to the United States, with 62% of the export market. This figure has decreased to about 40% in 2009, with China’s furniture exports swelling to approximately 40% in 2009, from less than 13% in 2000.
The Chinese furniture-manufacturing industry is rapidly becoming one of the largest in the world, and it has affected Canadian furniture exports, as well as imports. While this growth has benefitted Canadian timber producers, it has increased competition in the furniture market.
For the Canadian domestic market, the economic recovery is revitalizing furniture sales, according to Jean François Michaud, CEO of The Canadian Home Furnishing Market (TCHFM). However, it is apparent that consumers are still more cautious and less impulsive
with their purchases following a recession. Canadian consumers today seek a balance between a product’s quality, price and added value.