Office Furniture Sales To Hit $20.6 billion in 2012

Posted by Bill Esler | Posted: 12/20/2012 5:00PM


Steelcase Plants No 2 and 3, Kent County MI, National RegisterWikimedia Commons Steelcase Plants No 2 and 3, Kent County MI. LOS ANGELES - U.S. office furniture manufacturing, weakened over the past five years by recession and changing workstyles, is now poised for sustained growth. Business improvement and increased hiring will result in a 3.6% revenue rise,  to $20.6 billion in 2012, says a study by IBISWorldwide.

Since 2007, import penetration from China, which produces furniture at a much lower cost, hurt U.S. industry revenues, which declined at an average annual rate of 6.5% since 200. 

Volatility in raw materials also hurt office furniture manufacturers, with steel and wood prices increasing.  “These price fluctuations have made it difficult for manufacturers to anticipate future spending and control costs,” says IBISWorld industry analyst Sean Windle.

click image to zoomBIFMA Office FurnitureBusiness furniture shipment data from BIFMA paints a slightly different picture of the past five years from the IBISWorld report, but projects an improvement in domestic sales for both 2012 and 2013. The Office Furniture Manufacturing industry has low market share concentration, with the four largest players (Herman Miller, HNI, Knoll, Steelcase) accounting for about one-fourth of total industry revenue in 2012. The remainder of the market is captured by a large number of small and privately owned businesses that successfully supply the local community's retail demand. In 2012, over 70% of office furniture makers will employ fewer than 20 workers, while just over 6.0% will employ more than 100 workers.

Profit margins decreased from 3.2% of revenue in 2007 to 3.0% in 2012, says IBISWorld, forcing merger and closures.

During the five years to 2012, the number of industry manufacturers decreased at an average annual rate of 1.1%. to total 3,697 businesses, employing 115,000 producing a wide range of office furniture, including bookcases, cabinets, chairs, desks and filing cabinets. The segment also manufactures office and store fixtures, such as cafeteria countertops (except kitchen and bathroom), furniture parts and partitions, with orders predesigned or customized, and sold assembled or unassembled.


About the Author

Bill Esler, Woodworking Network, WMS

Bill Esler

Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network Bill is responsible for overall content at Woodworking Network magazine, and related newsletters. Bill also manages event programs for Woodworking Network Live conferences at the Woodworking Machinery & Supplies Expo in Toronto and Cabinets & Closets Expo. He developing audience engagement programs using custom digital printing, live lead-generating events, custom websites, and custom digital and print content. Read Bill Esler's woodworking blogs. He can be reached at or follow him on Google+.

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Canada  |  December, 21, 2012 at 06:57 AM

Your article is wrong. The office furniture industry is definately NOT 20.6 billion. Total consumption is forcasted to be 11.3 billion in 2012 and this number includes US SHIPMENTS + IMPORTS. Comon guys - Get your numbers right!

Kevin Johnson    
January, 03, 2013 at 10:31 AM

20.6 Billion is not the US, but it may be Worldwide. Unbelievably wrong.


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