Sporting chance for British furniture
A run of Royal celebrations and summer of top sporting action is proving a tonic for Britain’s furniture industry.
More than one in four Britons (28%) agree they have become more inclined to buy British due to the Royal Wedding last year, the Diamond Jubilee this year and the high profile sporting events taking place in the UK this year.
Results of the survey into peoples’ attitudes towards buying British come as the BFC – the voice of the furniture and bed industry – showcases British manufactured furniture at an exhibition in the heart of Westminster today (Monday July 9).
The confederation is staging a four day long exhibition in the House of Commons to highlight the fact the industry contributes £7 billion to the economy and supports in excess of 100,000 jobs across more than 6,000 companies.
Said BFC chairman Paul von der Heyde: “The BFC has been working with government and parliamentarians to improve recognition of the industry. This exhibition demonstrates the size and contribution made by the industry to the economy and showcases key manufacturers in the UK.”
The snapshot poll proved only food rated as more important (75%) when it came to sourcing UK products. Buying British clothing came joint second (45%) with furniture. Buying electrical products and cars made in the UK was deemed less important (40% and 31% respectively).
Ultimately price and quality remain the most important considerations when making a purchase (respectively 95% and 96% of those questioned said that they were important) but, according to Paul von der Heyde, those criteria hold no fear for British furniture manufacturers.
He said: “After a decade of witnessing all types of manufacturing move to offshore production, there’s growing evidence that some furniture production is returning to the UK. Quality control, after-sales service and sheer depth of product range are better managed in Britain.”
Asked about their perception of goods still made in Britain, 44% of those questioned named furniture as a product they thought was still produced here – compared to toys which scored just 13%. Only 15% thought electrical goods were still made in Britain while other manufactured goods named were tools (17%), china (27%), textiles (28%) and steel (36%). The biggest scoring product was vehicles at 54%.
Interestingly, when asked how strongly people felt that furniture at places of work, leisure, hospitals, schools etc. should be made in Britain, more than half (52%) agreed.
Said Paul von der Heyde: “It’s clear from this research that British made furniture still has a lot of support across the UK. While the sector has undoubtedly experienced weaker demand across world economies, there is a loyalty towards British made product that has enjoyed a fillip as a result of royal celebrations, the Euros and forthcoming Olympics.
“UK furniture manufacturing remains a substantial industry and while there is widespread recognition of that fact among the public, our job this week is to highlight to MPs, the sector’s significance.”