The total value of exports of UK manufactured furniture has increased by nearly 20% according to the latest overseas trade review by BFM.  The report, based on the sectors performance throughout 2017, revealed that exports to the EU had risen by 19.6%, with similar percentage increases when categorised between EU and non-EU countries.

Said Mike Dimond, BFM’s director of employment and membership: “Despite improvement in the total value of exports, our review also highlights the trade deficit between imports and exports of all furniture grew from £4.3 billion in 2016 to £4.6 billion in 2017.

“It showed that all sectors reported an increase in export levels, with kitchen furniture reporting the highest level of overall growth at 50.5%, with exports to non-EU countries increasing by 86.6% and 6.1% to EU countries.”

The BFM report shows that within the EU, France is the favourite destination for exports of all UK manufactured furniture, rising by 50% in the year to reach a value of £316 million.

However, in the traditional areas of furniture – apart from office and shop furniture – the Republic of Ireland topped all EU exporting destinations, with exports totalling £296 million, an increase of 7% on 2016.

Outside the EU, the USA tops the table in every furniture category, showing a value of £645 million, a rise of 21% in the year. However, exports to China rose by 78% to £147 million, and Hong Kong by 107% to £96 million.  

With regards to incoming product, the BFM notes that there was an 11% increase in furniture imports with little difference between the performances of EU countries compared to non-EU countries.

While China dominates in all sectors for imports from outside the EU – seeing an increase of 3% to reach a value of £2.1 billion – Italy topped the list of EU counties with a rise of 15% over the year.

However, the most notable improvement in imports came from the USA, the value growing by 51% to £349 million.

The full BFM furniture trade report is available to members of the association and can be found via the members’ area on the site.