Furniture & Trade
This section discusses the current status and historical trends related to imports and exports in the furniture industry. It covers trends for the industry in North Carolina, the U.S. and top competing states and shows North Carolina’s footprint in relationship to the U.S. industry and other states. This analysis is based on our NAICS-based definition of the furniture industry using data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division available on the USA Trade Online website. Links are provided to the underlying data in the form of interactive tables, charts and maps throughout this section.
North Carolina’s exports grew steadily from 2002 to 2008, increasing from $153 to $300 million. However, during the economic crisis, exports dropped by 38% between 2008 and 2009. Exports from North Carolina have yet to reach their 2008 peak.
In terms of destination markets, Canada accounts for 40% of North Carolina’s total exports in furniture, followed by countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and UAE), China, and Mexico. The overwhelming majority of furniture exports from North Carolina are in the household furniture segment. Major export growth markets for North Carolina over the past ten years have been Canada, China, and the UAE. North Carolina decreased exports most notably to South Korea and E.U. countries (UK, Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy).
- Furniture exports: in 2012, the total value of North Carolina’s exports in furniture was $297 million (T6a).
- Household furniture made up 79% of North Carolina’s exports. Office furniture made up 18% and furniture related products accounted for 3% of exports (C6a).
- Canada (40%) and Mexico accounted for 44% of the total value of North Carolina’s exports in furniture. Saudi Arabia (7%) and U.A.E (5%) were the second and third largest export destinations for furniture from North Carolina. China accounted for $16 million, or 5% of NC’s exports (T6a; M6a).
- Furniture imports: In 2012, the total value of North Carolina’s imports in furniture was $1.4 billion (T7a).
- Household furniture made up 74% of North Carolina’s imports, while office furniture made up 22%. Furniture related products accounted for 4% of imports to North Carolina (C7a).
- China, Vietnam and Indonesia accounted for 72% of the total value of North Carolina’s imports in furniture. China accounts for 57% of total imports, Vietnam 2 at 11% and Indonesia at 4%. Italy (5.6%) and Canada (4.7%) round out the top five countries during 2012 (T7a; M7a). Despite NAFTA, North Carolina’s imports from Mexico and Canada are not sizable when compared to Asia.
Historical Trends (1992-2012; 2002-2012)
- North Carolina’s exports grew steadily from 2002 to 2008, moving from $153 to 300 million. However, due to the 2008 economic crisis, exports dropped by 38% from 2008- 2009. Although exports grew in 2010 and 2011, they haven’t reached the 2008 peak.
- Considerable change in export destinations for North Carolina has occurred between 2002 and 2012. Canada, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan and the U.K. led in the total value of exports in 2002. In 2012, Canada was by far the largest export destination, followed by Saudi Arabia, UAE, China and Mexico. There has also been significant growth in exports over the last decade to India, Australia, China, Russia and UAE. Exports to South Korea, Cyprus, and the U.K. have each declined by more than $3 million since 2002.
- Imports (2008-2012): Considerable change in the country of origin for furniture imported into North Carolina has occurred since 2008, the first year state-level import statistics are available. China and Vietnam lead in the total value of furniture imports in 2012. Vietnam supplanted Italy as the second largest source of furniture imports from 2008- 2012. Imports from Mexico, Vietnam, and Indonesia grew significantly, while imports from China, Italy, and Canada declined by at least 25% from 2008-2012 (C7a).
- In 2012, the total value of furniture exports to the U.S. was $5.8 billion (T7b).
- Household furniture made up 60% of U.S. exports, while office furniture made up 36%. Furniture related products accounted for 4% of exports to the U.S. (C6b).
- The top five destinations of U.S. furniture exports were Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Japan Saudi Arabia and China. Canada (53%) and Mexico (10%) are the top two destination markets for U.S. furniture. Other important export markets are the UK (3%) and Saudi Arabia (2%) and China (2%) – each at around $140 million, or 2.4% of U.S. exports (T6b; M6b).
- The U.S. furniture trade balance with China is particularly negative––$16 billion imports; $139 million exports. The U.S. trade balance with Canada in furniture is positive – $2.4 billion imports and $3.8 billion exports.
- In 2012, the total value of U.S furniture imports was $28.6 billion (T7b).
- Household furniture made up 74% of U.S. imports, while office furniture made up 22%. Furniture-related products accounted for 4% of imports to the United States (C7b).
- As of 2012, the largest share of furniture goods imported in the U.S. was produced in the Far East––66% of total imports––with China alone accounting for 57% of total imports. Major sources of imports were China (57%), Vietnam (8%), Canada (8.5%) and Mexico (6.5%) (T7b; M7b).
Historical Trends (1992-2012; 2002-2012)
- Furniture exports grew 124% from 2002 to 2012 ($2.6B to $5.8B), with a $1B reduction during the 2008 recession. Exports recovered to 2008 levels in 2011. Major export destinations were Canada, Mexico, U.K., Japan, and Belgium.
- Household furniture exports grew 117% from 2002 to 2012 ($1.6B to $3.5B), with a $461 million reduction during the 2008 recession. Exports recovered to 2008 levels in 2011.
- Office furniture exports grew 124% from 2002 to 2012 ($932m to $2B), with a 424 million reduction during the 2008 recession. Exports recovered to 2008 levels in 2011.
- In 2002, the U.S imported $17.6 billion in furniture compared to $28.6 billion in 2012; an increase of 64%. However significant reductions occurred between 2008 and 2011. Imports in 2009 were $6.6 billion less than 2007 levels however imports recovered to 2007 levels by 2012.
- Household furniture imports grew 55% from 2002 to 2012 ($13.6B to $22.7B), with significant reductions in 2008-2011. Imports in 2009 were 4.8 billion less than in 2007. Imports recovered to 2007 levels in 2012.
- Office furniture imports grew 82% from 2002 to 2012 ($3.4B to $6.3B), with significant reductions in 2008-2011. Imports in 2009 were $1.6 billion less than in 2007. Imports recovered to 2007 levels in 2012.
Top U.S. States
- The top five states in furniture exports were: Michigan (11.5%), California (9.2%), Texas (8.0%), North Carolina (5.1%) and Ohio (4.9%) (T6c; C6c).
- The top states in furniture imports were: California (23.4%), Georgia (6.5%), New York (5.8%), North Carolina (5.4%) and New Jersey (5.2%) (T7c; C7c).
NC in the U.S. Economy
- North Carolina was the fourth largest exporter of furniture ($297 million) in the U.S., behind Michigan ($666 million), California ($534 million), and Texas ($468 million).
- North Carolina was the third largest exporter of household furniture in 2012 ($235 million), behind California ($365 million) and Michigan ($277 million).
- North Carolina’s exports grew faster (92%) than all other top exporting states and the U.S. average between 2002 and 2007, but significantly slower between 2007 and 2012 (1.3%). NC was affected the most by the 2008 economic downturn. Compared to the top three exporting states, NC has not been growing at the same pace after 2008. States with higher growth rates (Michigan & Texas) are more concentrated in office and institutional furniture, yet are making inroads into exports for household furniture.
- North Carolina led the U.S. in exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE ($37 million; 12% of total North Carolina’s exports).