The total number of exports from traditional furniture sectors is on the up, new research reveals. But imports continue to rise too.

According to a review of UK manufacturing performance in 2017 by British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM), exports from traditional furniture sectors has improved by 18% since 2016.

However, at the same time, 60% of all furniture in the UK is imported with 45% of more traditional furniture sectors manufactured abroad. British manufacturers now make just 6% of wooden dining and living room furniture sold in the UK, although more than 80% of UK market in wooden furniture for offices, shops and kitchens, together with mattress supports and spring mattresses are made in the UK. The value of UK home produced upholstered seats fell by 7.8% to under £1 billion with importers gaining 3% more of UK market.

Said Jackie Bazeley, BFM md: “Our review revealed some very interesting findings. While we saw an increase in exports we also saw that in several sectors the home market was still dominated by UK manufacturers.”

The report looked at key topics such as how the market has changed over the last full calendar year, the value of UK manufactured sales and imports and exports, as well as the size of the UK market. It also analysed the percentage of the UK market attributable to UK products and the unit price of UK produced items.

Of the 27 furniture product groups covered, 10 sub sectors were chosen which represent typical manufacturing areas within the BFM membership. These included: upholstery, sofa beds, bedroom furniture, dining, living room, office and shop furniture, kitchen units, mattress supports for bed frames, as well as mattresses with spring interiors and cellular plastics.

The full report is available to BFM members only, contact