December furniture orders up 6% from December 2022

Smith Leonard survey results also show that December shipments fell 14% from December 2022 and were down 17% for the entire year

HIGH POINT — New orders for residential furniture rose 6% in December, the eighth straight month of year-over-year increases, according to the latest Furniture Insights report from Smith Leonard.

Meanwhile, December shipments fell 14% from December 2022, according to the report.

New orders totaled $1.97 billion in December compared with $1.9 billion in December 2022, with two-thirds of survey participants reporting an increase. They were also up 5% for the full calendar year, totaling $27.3 billion, compared to $25.9 billion reported in calendar year 2022.

Residential furniture shipments totaled $2.1 billion in December, down from $2.5 billion in December 2022, which the report said was up 3% from December 2021. Year-over-year shipments were down for about two-thirds of survey participants. For the full calendar year, shipments totaled $28.3 billion, down 17% from the $34.2 billion reported in 2022.

New orders were down 19.1% from $2.44 billion in November, and shipments were down less than 1% from $2.14 billion in November.

December 2023 backlogs were down 33% to $2.6 billion, compared to $3.9 billion in December 2022 and were also down slightly from the $2.8 billion reported in November.

“So despite recent improvements in new orders, trends continue to be affected by many companies shipping from their historically high backlogs through much of 2022,” Smith Leonard noted. “And with month-over-month orders declining, December 2023 backlogs were down 5% from November and down 33% compared to December 2022.”

The report also said that receivable levels were down 16% from December 2022, which it noted is in line with the year-to-date decline in shipments. They were down 12% from November, which the report said “seems to be a normalization from the 5% increase we saw in the prior month.”

Inventories were down 28% from December 2022 and were down slightly from November, the report continued, adding that the year-over-year decrease indicates most companies have rebalanced inventory levels to match current operations.

In addition, it noted that the number of factory and warehouse employees was down 7% from December 2022 and about level with November, “again indicating most companies have right-sized their teams, though most are still eager to add good people when available.”

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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