MAE report: US furniture exports rose 10.1% in 2022

Mexico and Canada remain the largest markets for US-made products while China and the Middle East continue to falter

RICHMOND, Va. — Furniture exports rose 10.1% in 2022, according to the latest report of U.S. furniture shipments from investment banking firm Mann, Armistead & Epperson.

Exports totaled $2.5 billion, compared to $2.3 billion in 2021, and nearly $2 billion in 2020.

Canada remained the top market for U.S.-made upholstery and wood furniture, with about $1.6 billion in purchases, up from $1.54 billion the year before.

From there, shipments dropped off dramatically, with Mexico, the next largest market at $186 million, followed by the United Kingdom at $53 million, the Bahamas at $47 million, Australia at $33 million and South Korea at $32 million.

Germany, Saudi Arabia and Japan followed at $28 million, $27 million and $26 million, respectively, with the Dominican Republic and the United Arab Emirates at $24 million and $21 million, followed by the Cayman Islands and China, each at $20 million in U.S. furniture purchases.

Note that China was once one of the largest markets for furniture during the last decade, peaking at $113 million in 2014 and 2015 then dropping to $96 million each year over the next two years before rising to $105 million in 2018. Then the U.S. got into a trade war with China, first imposing 10% tariffs, which later rose to 25% on hundreds of billions of dollars of products from the U.S., including furniture.

China responded with a set of retaliatory tariffs on goods imported from the U.S. that also included furniture. The following year, U.S. furniture exports to China were nearly cut in half to $54 billion, which fell to $25 billion in 2021 and $20 billion in 2022. This particularly hurt luxury furniture producers that once described China as one of their largest international markets. While the loss in revenue is spread over many different companies, it’s likely been difficult to make up that business, particularly in the U.S. market.

Shipments to Saudi Arabia, another major market for U.S.-made furniture, also have declined in recent years. According to the MAE report, the U.S. shipped $74 million and $86 million there in 2013 and 2014 respectively. This tapered off to $67 million in 2015 and hovered in the mid-$50 million range for the next few years before dropping off by roughly 50% to between $22 million and $27 million in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Furniture exports to other major markets including the UAE and Japan also have fallen off dramatically.

Surely the pandemic has been a factor in this decline as it severely limited international travel. Plus U.S. manufacturers had the dual challenge of supply chain issues that kept them delivering product to their own customers in the U.S. in a timely fashion as lead times rose to six months or more.

The good news is that the overall export market has not changed that dramatically in the past 10 years as some markets such as Mexico and Canada have increased their overall purchases of U.S.-made furniture. In the past 10 years, exports reached a peak of $2.74 billion in 2014 and 2015 according to the report, compared to just over $2.5 billion last year, a 5.7% difference. During the past decade, the numbers have crept up from a low point of $2 billion in 2020, before swinging back to $2.3 billion in 2021 and $2.5 billion in 2022.

Will the numbers continue to rise in the months and years ahead? A lot depends on the ability of U.S. furniture producers to attract an international audience. Reports from the High Point Market Authority indicated that international registrations, while flat from this past fall, were up 3% from April 2022.

But now as lead times have become more normalized, U.S. furniture manufacturers may soon look for opportunities to show at overseas markets that were once hugely important for export-minded companies. Those and other efforts to market to international buyers likely will boost export opportunities once again, rejuvenating once key growth markets now and in the future.

We look forward to continue tracking these numbers to see how those efforts play out.

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.

View all posts by Thomas Russell →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Newsletter for breaking news, special features and early access to all the industry stories that matter!

Sponsored By: