(Yicai Global) March 21 -- China's furniture imports reached a 10-year high last year, indicating Chinese people's purchasing power has increased and consumption habits have changed, said an industry report. China spent billions of dollars on imported furniture last year, with Shanghai topping the list.
China's furniture imports jumped 15.6 percent year-on-year, hitting just over USD3 billion last year, said the 2018 China furniture industry information report. The purchasing power of the Chinese people has increased significantly along with the continuous increase in national income, which is particularly evident in economically developed coastal areas, added the report released by China national furniture association at the 39th international furniture fair in Dongguan, the southeastern Guangdong province.
The top five regions for furniture imports in China were Shanghai, Guangdong, Beijing, the eastern Jiangsu province, and Tianjin, data showed. Among them, Shanghai contributed 34.8 percent of China's furniture imports by value, followed by Guangdong which accounted for 16.7 percent. The two regions together occupied half of China's total furniture import value.
The Milan Furniture Fair, also known as Salone del Mobile.Milano, one of the three largest furniture fairs in the world, is a regular destination for people in the global furniture and interior design sector in April every year. More and more dealers in China visited the Milan fair in recent years, Liu Qinghua, a furniture dealer, told Yicai Global. Given the fast-growing import business of her company every year, Liu intends to act as an agent for more brands this year.
Some Western topnotch furniture brands have also begun to focus on the development of the Chinese market. Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai was held for the first time in November 2016, attracting more than 20,000 visitors in three days. The popularity and feedback from exhibitors far surpassed the expectations of the organizer. Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai was held for the second time in Shanghai last November, exhibiting 109 Italian top furniture brands. The third Shanghai fair will also be held this year.
Serta is one of the top 10 mattress brands in the world and entered Dongguan successfully four years ago, said Ma Xiaoting, a dealer in Dongguan for Serta Home Furniture (Shenzhen) Co., as the brand fits the preference of the post-80s and post-90s generations, which make up the main consumer group. Serta's shipment to China reached CNY1.29 billion (USD203 million) last year, surging 37 percent year-on-year, with the six-year compound annual growth rate of shipment hitting 58 percent.
China's furniture imports would continue to rise in the future, Tu Qi, deputy secretary-general of China national furniture association, told Yicai Global. "The growth rate of our imports is much higher than that of exports. The government is also more open-minded, hoping that more and better products can enter China," Tu added.