Smith Leonard: YOY new furniture orders fell 26% in September

September furniture shipments rose 5% year over year and 6% year to date

HIGH POINT – New orders for residential furniture fell 26% in September compared to a year ago, while shipments rose 5% from the same period, according to the latest Furniture Insights report published by Smith Leonard.

New orders for residential furniture totaled $2.3 billion for the month, down from $3.2 billion in September 2021.  The firm said that September 2021 orders also were down 20% from September 2020, but noted that “even comparing to 2019 is not very realistic in a given month with all the price increases that have been instituted, especially up to September 2022.”

Year to date, new orders fell to $20.2 billion, a 29% drop from the $28.5 billion in orders for the first nine months of 2021, when they were down 21% from 2020. The firm went on to note that year to date, 2022 orders were also down 6% from year-to-date 2019.

In September, the firm noted, new orders were down for 91% of survey participants.

Furniture shipments in September rose 5% to $2.8 billion, from $2.7 billion in September 2021. For the first nine months, they rose 6%, to $26.3 billion, from $24.9 billion the first nine months of 2021.

“Shipments continued to be positive, working off the big backlogs that were built,” the report said, noting that they were up for 71% of the survey participants and that last year September shipments were up 4% over September 2020.

Relating to the year-to-date increase in shipments, which was up for 70% of the participants, the firm added that backlogs fell again in September, dropping 40% from September 2021 and another 6% from August.

“We hope that most participants cleaned up their backlogs so that they know what their real situation will be over the next couple of months,” the report said.

The report added that receivable levels continue to be in line, up 4% over September 2021 and in line with the 5% increase in shipments and 6% increase year to date.

However, it added that inventories continue to be an issue, as they were up 42% from September 2021, although down 2% from August levels.

“It will take a while to get them back in line and rebalanced as we are concerned as to what kind of products are included in some of these inventories,” the report said.

Employment levels, it said, are fairly stable “as it has for several months through September.” It added that payrolls continued to climb, up 11% from September 2021 and up 15% year to date.

“That year-to-date increase includes a few more employees in some earlier months and significant wage increases as well as some volume increases,” the report concluded.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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