China's furnishing industry shows new lease of life

(People's Daily Online) 16:04, August 21, 2023

China's furnishing industry is showing great vitality as consumption potential in this area is further unleashed.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China revealed that the furniture sector contributed 68.5 billion yuan (about $9.37 billion) to total retail sales of consumer goods in the first half of the year, up by 3.8 percent year on year, while household appliances and audio-video equipment contributed 427 billion yuan, up by 1 percent year on year.

A furniture industrial park called Hongbang in Nanchong city, southwest China's Sichuan Province, for example, is the first park dedicated to redwood furniture and culturally creative home furnishing products in western China.

The industrial park closely follows market trends, adopts an innovative business model featuring the furniture industry plus tourism, and sales plus experience, actively promoting the integrated development of the furniture, home textiles, home appliances and sanitary ware industries. Last year, the park's economic benefits exceeded 50 million yuan, a 400 percent increase compared to 2020.

The furniture industry also integrated online and offline channels to provide consumers with more choices.

Data from Pinduoduo, a major Chinese e-commerce platform, shows that smart home appliances have caught the attention of a growing number of consumers. Many e-commerce platforms have boosted the sales of such products through live streaming and short videos. They have also encouraged buyers to share feedback and comments on their personal experience and feelings of using the products, and launched virtual displays of model rooms.

Meanwhile, furniture brands have also opened brick-and-mortar stores for customers to try their products as well as model rooms renovated from old houses in an effort to create immersive and interactive consumption scenarios that will provide consumers with greater choice and a better shopping experience.

Zhang Yan, owner of a homestay, arranges new furniture at her homestay in the Heqiao ancient town in Lin'an District of Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, April 17, 2021. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

Songlin township in Linqing city, east China's Shandong Province adopted an "e-commerce +" strategy to fully integrate the furniture and e-commerce industries. At present, more than 300 businesses in the township sell Chinese classical furniture on e-commerce channels, employing more than 3,000 people and generating annual online sales of 500 million yuan.

A furniture company in Linqing city has promoted its products through livestreaming sessions. According to Zhang Junhe, executive of the company, the company sells its furniture products on multiple e-commerce platforms, with its online annual sales volume exceeding 10 million yuan.

China recently issued a guideline to promote the consumption of green and smart home appliances. The relevant departments have accelerated efforts to improve standards, certification, and labeling systems for green products, and expanded the scope of green home product certification. These departments have released four batches of unified standards evaluation catalogs and certification directories covering 18 types of products, including green building materials, furniture, refrigerators, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, among other home products. Over 23,000 unified green product certificates have been issued to over 4,600 certified enterprises.

"Our company is innovating so as to adapt to new consumption trends featuring healthy and smart home furnishing that can be applied to multiple scenarios, and works to improve quality and services to provide consumers a better experience," said Sun Liming, vice president of FOTILE Group, a Chinese manufacturer of high-end kitchen appliances.

In addition, the country has also boosted county-level business system development in order to unleash greater market potential. China's rural consumption growth has outpaced urban consumption in recent years. With nearly 500 million people, rural areas constitute an enormous market with huge potential for home furnishings. In the first half of this year, online sales of green and smart home appliances in rural areas on major e-commerce platforms grew 12.7 percent year-on-year.

The furniture industry in Nankang district, Ganzhou city in east China's Jiangxi Province has thrived over the last few years, and is now home to over 10,000 furniture and relevant enterprises, thanks to an improved logistics network which involves over 630 logistics companies.

Statistics from Full Truck Alliance, a leading digital freight platform in China, show that the volume of furniture shipments of Nankang in the first six months of the year went up by 17.8 percent compared to the second half of last year, with June seeing a month-on-month increase of 56.4 percent. Hong Ling, chairman of Nankang logistics association, said that with the continuous release of favorable policies, Nankang's furniture market will experience more positive development.

(Web editor: Chang Sha, Hongyu)


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