The demand for office furniture dipped during the COVID-19 pandemic as economic activity slowed and employees transitioned to working remotely. Businesses had little incentive to purchase furniture for empty workspaces.
As a result, office furniture suppliers experienced an 11% decline in demand in 2020, according to Office Furniture: United States by Freedonia Focus Reports, a division of MarketResearch.com.
A Boom in Home Office Furniture
However, the shift to working from home increased internet sales of business furniture such as low-cost chairs and desks. A national consumer survey conducted by Freedonia Focus Reports suggested that as of November 2020, about 20% of US adults purchased office furniture to work from home.
To capture sales of home office furniture, major manufacturers worked to expand their online options for selling to consumers. For example, Kimball acquired Poppin, an e-commerce business furniture firm, in December 2020.
But for many companies, pivoting to e-commerce proved to be a formidable logistical challenge. “A Tsunami hit the industry with this pandemic,” Ron Wiener, chief executive of the standing desk maker iMovR, told Reuters. “The big companies weren’t structured to serve people from home.”
Modest Gains Expected as Workplaces Reopen
In the future, demand for office furniture is expected to grow as more individuals are vaccinated against COVID-19 and workers return to the office. Increasing employment will also help drive sales, and companies are expected to purchase more furniture as they remodel workspaces to minimize disease transmission and create more meeting spaces, according to Freedonia Focus Reports.
Even so, the office furniture industry will continue to face ongoing challenges. Many companies may allow employees to work from home in the future — reducing the amount of furniture that needs to be purchased. In addition, the supply of quality secondhand furniture has increased alongside the closure and liquidation of some office spaces, which will dampen new furniture sales as well.
Where to Learn More
For more in-depth data on the office furniture market, see Office Furniture: United States by Freedonia Focus Reports. This report includes data and analysis on U.S. office furniture market size and forecasts, market segmentation, and the latest office furniture industry trends.
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
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