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October 12, 2004
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Dining and Occasional Furniture sector forms part of the overall UK Furniture market
consists of Upholstered Furniture and Beds, Bedroom Furniture, Kitchen Furniture, Bathroom
Furniture and Home Office Furniture. These well-established and mature markets have
experienced many changes in the last few years. The continuing developments in consumer
lifestyles, and in social trends coupled with a number of market forces have had an impact
on the Dining room and Occasional Furniture Market. The growth of the public's interest in
Home improvement and fashion awareness has fuelled a demand for new and innovative designs
and experiments with new materials. In addition the market has also been effected by the
rapid growth of imports, the strength of the
2000 ?2004 (in ?million MSP)
Source : AMA Research
Dining and Occasional Furniture sector has gradually decreased in terms of overall market
share, accounting for around 13% of the overall furniture market with an approximate value
in 2002 of ?22 million. Forecasts to 2006 estimate annual increases of around 1-2% to
reach a value of ?49 million by 2006.
overall Dining and Occasional Furniture market was worth an estimated ? billion in 2002.
It is dominated by Upholstered Furniture and Beds with a 45% value share, followed by
Kitchen furniture with a 23% share.
a well established and mature sector, the dining and occasional market has experienced
gradual growth over the period. During 1997, the dining and occasional market experienced
7% growth, supported by building society de-mutualisation dividends, a buoyant housing
market and high levels of consumer confidence. Between 1997 - 2001, the growth levels have
slowed to 2-3%, affected by the general economic downturn and the slowing down of the
house building and house moving sectors in 1998/early 1999. Since 2001, the growth levels
have slowed down to 1-2%, due to the uncertainty of the economic climate, in respect of
events such as September 11th and the
outlook for dining and occasional furniture is relatively optimistic, owing largely to the
growing demand for certain items of occasional furniture. However, the relatively weakened
demand for dining furniture is likely to result in low to moderate growth in the medium
term for the market as a whole.
characteristics of the dining market are its deferrable nature and low usage in comparison
to other furniture items within the home. In addition to these factors, the increasing
volume of single occupancy households and the trend towards smaller room sizes, have
reduced the need for traditional dining suites. However, the demand for smaller items of
occasional furniture has increased and, with greater levels of casual dining and
technology in the home, the level of usage tends to be higher in the occasional sector.
of the occasional market experiencing growth include; wall units/ storage units, bookcases
and shelves, and coffee and occasional tables. Wall units are becoming more popular,
largely due to the increasing pressure on space, and the amount of storage they provide.
In addition, the variety of add-on features now available, such as doors and drawers, and
the emergence of modular furniture which can be used in a variety of areas throughout the
home have contributed to their popularity. Coffee and occasional tables also remain strong
as the trend towards casual dining and 'TV dinners' continues.
Home Office Furniture market was worth an estimated ?89 million during 2002 and the growth
of this sector has significant implications for the future of both dining and occasional
furniture. The growth in the number of people working from home has resulted in the
increasing use of the dining room - the least used room - as a multi-purpose area. In
addition to this, demand has been stimulated for occasional pieces of furniture, e.g.
shelving and storage units such as bookcases. The entertainment unit sector has seen a
decrease in market value largely due to changes in the design of technology.
furniture market has become more fashion-oriented and fuelled consumers demand for more
innovation in furniture, as well as more versatility and functionality to suit the
changing socio-economic environment. Demand for furniture has become more subject to
changing consumer tastes, while price has also become a major driver in the market.
Consumer responsiveness to lower prices may depress the chance of any real growth with in
the market. The growth of self-assembly furniture will also add further pressure on market
growth rates in the dining and occasional sector - reasons for this include the low price,
the immediacy and convenience of self-assembly furniture and the growth in demand for
modular/flexible furniture items.
leading types of furniture offered in self-assembly format tend to be foil and wood veneer
finished, which are less expensive than solid wood. The light to medium colour finishes
will continue in popularity. In terms of real wood furniture, the market will see a
resurgence of popularity towards darker woods.
trade in the dining and occasional market has been affected by consumer response to low
prices and the strength of
indicate that there are approximately 4,100 companies within the dining and occasional
sector. Major suppliers include Silentnight Holdings (Silentnight Cabinets, and branded
ranges such as Nathan, Ducal and Stag), followed by Wade, Ercol and H. Morris & Co.
(G-Plan, Morris Furniture and Beautility).
furniture multiples take the largest share of the dining and occasional furniture market,
largely due to their strength in national coverage. IKEA opened a new store in
retailers have entered the homewares market, offering a range of home furnishings and
furniture. The use of the Internet has seen marginal expansion, mainly from existing
multiples, department and variety stores. The use of the Internet is still very much a
marketing tool, but the number of e-commerce sites are increasing.
volume growth within the dining and occasional market seems unlikely in the foreseeable
future. Stimulus to the future value growth of the sector is anticipated to come from
consumers continuing to 'trade up' to better quality products, and the continuing trend to
modular, versatile occasional furniture items to meet the increasing pressures on space.
With an increase in interest rates, and more expected increases in 2004, in addition to
consumer confidence currently under pressure, it seems likely that the market will be
relatively flat in the short-term future. In addition, constant pressures on lower prices
and the increasing number of cheap imports may depress any chance of real growth in the
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