Furniture imports dropped 13.9% in 2023, reducing the UK’s furniture trade deficit by £1.6bn compared to 2022.

British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) has released its International Trade Review 2024 - a detailed report into the balance of trade for the furniture industry.

The report examines the balance of total imports and exports, with breakdown figures for upholstery, other finished seats and chairs, kitchens, wooden bedroom furniture, wooden dining and living room furniture, as well as mattresses.

Comparative figures for value of product by kilograms and Chinese import values per kilogram are also included in the report, which was issued to BFM members this month.

“This report delves into data exclusively commissioned for BFM and provides valuable insights into the balance of trade for the furniture industry," says BFM MD, Phil Spademan. “Last year, the value of imported furniture sales fell by £1.6 billion. This was driven partly by a reduction in imports of all general furniture sectors apart from mattresses.

“Overall, imports dipped by 13.9% with non-EU countries recording a fall in values of near 23% while EU imports fell by 2.8%. China dominated imports showed consistently low prices per kg for all product sectors compared to other imports.

“However, total furniture exports from the UK increased by 13.4% with a rise of 11.5% recorded for non-EU countries and a 15.2% increase in exports to the EU.”

The BFM International Trade Review 2024 drills down into import and export values for each furniture category, comparing the change in the trade deficit for 2023 against 2022, with pre-pandemic values from 2019 also included for reference.

The report also lists the top five countries for import / export in each furniture sector, with the UK's major overseas furniture market being the Irish Republic, followed by France.