5 Key Trends in the Furniture Industry for 2021 and Beyond

furniture industry trends 2021Continued growth in building construction and rising disposable income levels have boosted the demand for furniture in the U.S. in recent years.  

The U.S. demand for furniture is expected to reach $67.7 billion in 2025, rising at an annual growth rate of 2.7% from $59.3 billion in 2020, according to the report Furniture: United States by Freedonia Focus Reports, a division of MarketResearch.com.

The report highlights a variety of influential furniture trends to watch, from the impact of COVID-19 to the rise of e-commerce.

1. The Impact of COVID-19 on the Furniture Market

The demand for furniture dropped in 2020 as offices, schools, and restaurants temporarily closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. In this uncertain economic environment, companies moved to conserve cash and slash overhead expenses, which also lowered business and institutional furniture demand. 

However, while many remote workers were stuck at home, they bought furniture for their home offices and to revamp their living spaces, which helped to lessen declines. In addition, the outdoor furniture market grew as more social activities shifted outside. 

2. The Growth of Online Furniture Sales

The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated furniture e-commerce. In the early stages of the pandemic, non-essential businesses closed, and many consumers shopped through online retailers like Wayfair and Amazon to avoid exposure to COVID-19. In response, major furniture manufacturers set up online presences, either in-house or through acquisition.

But even before COVID, the rise of e-commerce in the furniture industry had already been underway for years. As part of the “Amazon effect,” the retail market shifted increasingly online through popular sites like Overstock.com and Joss & Maine.

Younger consumers, such as millennials, are more willing to buy items online because of the convenience, even if they can’t see and feel the products ahead of time. A variety of new direct-to-consumer furniture companies target online millennial shoppers, including Yardbird, BenchMade Modern, Burrow, Article, and Joybird (which was acquired by La-Z-Boy).

Projections cited in the report E-Commerce: United States expect furniture and furnishings to be the fastest-growing segment of e-commerce sales through 2022.

3. Increased Interest in Eco-Friendly Furniture

Sustainability has become an important topic in many different industries, and furniture is no exception.

Furniture manufacturers have been influenced by business and consumer interest in green products and an increased focus on sustainability. To reduce environmental impact, furniture can be made with recycled materials or more sustainable woods such as acacia, bamboo, or reclaimed wood.

Some well-known furniture brands offer product lines that promote sustainability. For example, Pottery Barn offers reclaimed wood furniture made with salvaged materials, and Crate & Barrel sells furniture with frames that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

4. More Flexible Workspaces

As remote work has become more common and technology has evolved, employees are no longer tethered to their desks, and workplace designs and office furniture have changed significantly as well.

Cubicles and private offices have given way to office environments with flexible workspaces where employees can work in groups of different sizes, and in some cases, use workstations rather than have assigned seats. This type of arrangement can help accommodate a fluctuating workforce that includes an increasing number of remote workers who may only come into the office occasionally or when there are important meetings to attend.

For example, the Locale line of furniture by Herman Miller provides workbases that serve as anchoring points and mobile elements that allow people to move from individual work to collaborative activities as needed.

5. Obesity and the Need for Larger Furniture

The need for flexible workspaces isn’t the only factor changing office furniture designs. Obesity is another factor that businesses must keep in mind.

About 40% of U.S. adults are obese, up from 15% in 1990. These rising obesity levels have had an impact on furniture design, particularly for office chairs, as businesses strive to accommodate larger body sizes in both dimension and weight.

The typical office chair is designed to hold up to 300 pounds, while bariatric chairs can hold as much as 600 pounds. Bariatric chairs are often made with taller chair backs and wider seats and bases.

Where to Learn More

For more furniture market data and analysis, see the following Focus Reports, which feature a user-friendly format with concise text and helpful data visualizations:

These reports are not only quick to read, but they are also based on robust methodologies and offer a nuanced perspective that only experienced expert analysts can provide.    

About Freedonia Focus Reports

Published in 20-30 pages, Freedonia Focus Reports provide fresh, unbiased analysis on a wide variety of markets and industries.  

Analysis is intended to guide the busy reader through pertinent topics in rapid succession, including:

  • total historical market size and industry output
  • segmentation by products and markets
  • identification of market drivers, constraints, and key indicators
  • segment-by-segment outlook in five-year forecasts
  • a survey of the supply base
  • suggested resources for further study

Browse through the latest Focus Reports on MarketResearch.com.

About the Author: Sarah Schmidt is a Managing Editor at MarketResearch.com, a leading provider of global market intelligence products and services.

Topics: House & Home Industry Insights