The real estate market may be slowing down, but there doesn’t seem to be a corresponding slow-down in the number of sales of furnishings that will go into people’s homes. In fact, the opposite seems to be happening across the country. For instance, FRENCH PROVINCIAL furniture California-based Dacor, a kitchen appliance company, reports that their sales for the first quarter of 2006 were up some 25 percent from the same period of 2005. Another kitchen appliance supplier, Pittsburg-based Sub-Zero, saw their sales jump nearly 30 percent during that same period. What’s driving the startling rise in the home furnishings market? The factors are complex, but the fact remains that the numbers are definitely rising, in spite of a softening real estate market. Part of the reason for the increase is that whether homebuyers are purchasing a new or existing house, they will spend an average of $6,000 during their first year of ownership as they begin the task of turning their new homes into a more accurate reflection of who they are and how they choose to live. So even in the face of a slowing real estate market, homebuyers are still spending significant sums of money to upgrade and furnish their new homes, which makes the home furnishing industry somewhat less susceptible to downturns in home sales. In fact, the American furniture industry is actually twice as large as the country’s music industry overall.
However, as is the case in all phases of the American economy, the home furnishings industry is facing challenges from increasing competition from globalization. As more furniture is imported, it becomes more difficult for American companies to compete as consumer prices continue to decline. That may prove advantageous to consumers, but it will cause an increasing number of problems for U.S. furniture companies.There are several ways American furniture companies are fighting back against their foreign competition, especially when it comes to innovation and increased efficiency. After centuries of experience with American consumers, U.S. furniture sale have a firm grasp on what their clients need and want when it comes to furnishing their homes.
One of the most significant trends in recent years has been the migration of suburban homeowners back to urban areas. Since they’ve often done quite well when they sold their suburban homes, these buyers can afford to upgrade both their living spaces and the furnishing they fill them with. With that trend also comes a rethinking of interior spaces such as the kitchen. Homeowners want appliances and furniture that allows them to create an integrated feel throughout their homes. For example, kitchens have become much more than just places to cook meals. They’re now gathering places, as well, and innovative furniture allows homeowners to combine function with style and utility.