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News Release

February, 2005

New AKTRIN Report on



The AKTRIN Furniture Information Center in collaboration with AMA Research of the United Kingdom have published a new study of the UK Door and Window Fittings Market . The report incorporates original research and is a comprehensive and up-to-date review of this industry.  

In 2003, the UK Office Furniture market was worth around ?34 million at MSP. The UK Office Furniture market has been volatile since 1997. In 1999, the market experienced a decline due to low business confidence and the postponement of many new office furniture projects, as a result of a referral of investment into IT for millennium compliance.

Future prospects are more optimistic for the Office Furniture sector in the medium term. However, despite the industry experiencing a recovery, the market is expected to remain static in the short term, due to the time lag between confidence returning and the market showing real signs of growth.

Key influences in the market included commercial property activity, off-shoring and technological developments, rising use of flat screens or laptops, etc.  Development of technology has facilitated the growth of mobile working (?ot-desking ?otelling?and eleworking, relaxed constraints on desk size and shape and supported the growth of more informal working areas.   Ne w office building also has an impact on the office furniture market, but this has been a difficult market in recent years, with a high level of availability of office space leading to low levels of new build and limited demand for new installations. 

Imports and exports represent a significant amount of value in the UK Office Furniture market with imports currently valued at ?17 million and exports at ?10 million. The level of imports increased between 1998-2001, before experiencing a decline in 2002 due to the downturn in the global economy. However, imports experienced a return to growth in 2003 increasing by 3%, due to suppliers using manufacturing facilities outside the UK and importing components / ranges, in addition to retailers importing direct.

Exports have continued to decline since 1998, with the exception of 2001, which experienced a marginal increase. In 2003, imports decreased by 9% on 2002 levels as a result of the exchange rate and the unstable economic conditions globally. In 2003, only desking experienced an increase in exports on 2002 values. However desking imports have continued to fall since 2000, while both storage/ screening and seating experienced increases in 2003. EC Countries continue to dominate office furniture imports with Italy and  Germany being the major trading partners. Outside the EC,
China has replaced the US as the largest supplier to the UK .


The market is comprised of four separate product sectors, which includes desking (the main sector accounting for 41%), seating, storage and screening / others. In 2003, the Desking market was worth an estimated ?01 million at manufacturers sales prices (msp).  This sector consists of three sub sectors, which include executive, systems and economy stand-alone desking.

The Seating sector is the second largest product sector in the Office Furniture market and is currently valued at around ?29 million. Technological advances and ergonomic development, in addition to the increased awareness of the importance of good office seating in relation to health and safety, are key motivating factors in this sector. 

In the Storage sector the trend over recent years has been towards more aesthetically pleasing wood finishes, although metal products remain the most popular for shared storage. The market is estimated to be worth ?40 million, which comprises of over 30% wood products. 

The Screening/ Others?sector incorporates both screening and other products such as computer trolleys.  This market sector is estimated to be valued at ?4 million in 2003, with the continuing demand for screen systems in open plan offices mainly fuelling the sector. Computer trolleys have continued to decline in both popularity and market share.

Suppliers and Distribution within the Office Furniture market remain fiercely competitive with a large number of suppliers within the market. There has been some activity in terms of consolidation or acquisition activity and conversely divestment activity. In 2003, the top six suppliers account for 37% of the market by value, representing a decline on the 40% in 2001.The largest supplier in the
UK is generally regarded as Herman Miller, with Bullough and Bisley close behind in terms of market share.
Other significant suppliers include Dams International, Steelcase, Komfort Office Environments , Senator, Samas, EFG Matthews and Kinnarps etc.

The two main distribution channels for Office Furniture are via the dealer network or direct to end users. Retail and superstore sales have increased as a result of continuing growth in the SOHO market. The mail order channel has been relatively flat in recent years, although Internet selling (included in this sector), may boost this route to market in the medium term.

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AKTRIN is a report writing and international consulting firm fully dedicated to the furniture industry. The company has been in existence since 1985 and maintains offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Germany . Representatives and affiliates are located throughout the world.
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