According to the latest industry statistics released by the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), the UK’s furniture manufacturing sector has recorded a provisional turnover in 2014 of £7.4b – up more than 6% than 2013 and over 14% higher than in 2011.

This performance can only be seen as positive, especially when the decline in the number of furniture manufacturers over that time is taken into consideration.

Published annually by the FIRA, it contains facts and figures specific to the furniture and furnishings industry and is compiled using the latest available data for 2014 sourced from a range of websites. Provisional figures for 2015 will not be released by the Government until the latter half of 2016.

Author of the publication and technical services manager for FIRA International – which carried out the research on behalf of the association – says: “The turnover for furniture manufacturing in 2014 was 1.4% of the total for UK manufacturing and the furniture sector employed 2.9% of all UK manufacturing personnel (71,000).

“Notably, kitchen furniture manufacturing turnover improved to a greater extent than any other subsector in 2014. After a couple of years of comparatively poor performance the corner appears to have been turned, with a 22% increase on the previous year. In 2014, mattress manufacturing turnover also increased during the same time frame by 7.1%.

The digest further segments the furniture and furnishings sector and evidences that the negative worldwide trade gap has continued to widen, with increases in imports outstripping any small increases in exports.

Dr Beele continues: “Import and export data continue to portray worrying trends, resulting in an ever widening trade gap, but this is compensated for by the improvement in fortunes of many UK manufacturers and an increasing demand from consumers for furniture and furnishings. As the industry continues its recovery, the digest provides a valuable insight into the performance and potential trends for the industry.”

The Statistics Digest is available free of charge to FIRA members or it can be purchased by non-members for £300+ VAT.