Survey: June furniture orders rose 23% from last year

Backlogs also continue to come down, falling in line with current business conditions

HIGH POINT — New furniture orders reported by manufacturers and distributors rose 23% in June compared to a year ago, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey by Smith Leonard.

However, the report qualifies this by noting that new orders were down 39% in June 2022, which was spurred by significant cancellations the prior month. In addition, the report said, new orders in June 2021 were up only 7%, while June 2020 orders were up 30% over June 2019, which the firm noted was the first “real business boom after the pandemic shutdowns.”

New orders totaled $2.54 billion in June, up from $2.07 billion in June 2022. For the full six months, they were down 7.6%, from $14 billion in June 2022 to $12.9 billion in June 2023, with some 71% of survey participants reporting a decline.

New orders rose 11% from $2.3 billion in May.

Meanwhile furniture shipments were down 28%, totaling $2.5 billion, compared to $3.5 billion in June 2022. Again the firm qualified this by noting that June 2022 shipments were up 10% from June 2021 and that June 2021 shipments were up 38% from June 2020 “when people were getting back to work to be able to ship.”

Year-over-year shipments in June 2023 were down for 74% of survey participants. Year-to-date shipments were down 17%, to $14.9 billion, from $18 billion for the first six months of 2022. For that six-month period, shipments were down for more than 70% of survey participants.

Shipments also rose just slightly from $2.43 billion in May.

Backlogs fell to $2.92 billion in June, compared to $6.6 billion in June 2022, a 55.7% decrease. They rose just slightly from the $2.87 billion reported in May.

Other highlights of the report were as follows:

+ Receivable levels were down 36% from June 2022, but were up 1% from May, which the report said was in line with the 1% increase in shipments from May to June.

+ Inventories were down 26% from June 2022, and down 4% from May. “It appears that inventories are getting back in line with current business conditions,” the report said.

+ The number of factory and warehouse employees in the industry fell 9% from last June and were down 1% from May.

+ Meanwhile payrolls were down 17% from June 2022 and were down 9% year to date. “We expect payrolls to continue to decline,” the report said.

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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