Material use, product profile and channels of distribution in the U.S. wood furniture industry

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Virginia Tech


U.S. manufacturers of wood household (SIC 2511), upholstered household (SIC 2512) and wood office furniture (SIC 2521) were surveyed to assess wood materials use within these three industry segments. The final sample frame contained 5,016 manufacturing locations. This investigation also provides a profile of the types of products produced and the channels of distribution used to move these products to the final consumer from a second sample of 347 manufacturers of wood household furniture.

In 1989 the three industry segments surveyed consumed an estimated 2.3 billion board feet of hardwood lumber, 865 million board feet of softwood lumber, 1.3 billion square feet of particleboard (3/4" basis), and 370 million square feet of medium density fiberboard (3/4" basis). Further, an estimated 268 million square feet of softwood plywood (3/8" basis), 1025 million square feet of veneer and 310 million board feet of dimension stock were used in 1989 to produce wood furniture within the three industry segments examined.

Within the second sample containing solely manufacturers of wood household furniture, solid hardwood furniture was most commonly produced. Over 50% of the responding companies manufactured bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture. Responses regarding the volumes of furniture shipped through channel intermediaries revealed over 60% of sales were through manufacturer’s representatives to retailers and wholesalers. Weighted by company sales, the largest volumes of wood household furniture were sold through free-standing furniture stores (28.9% of respondent’s sales) and manufacturer’s own stores (23.4%).