Overview: Over the past decade, world furniture trade in 70 major countries, home to roughly three fourth of the world’s population has grown hand in hand with the furniture manufacturing business. Furniture trade and manufacturing occupies a significant position in the global trade and manufacturing market. However, Furniture Industry Analysis suggests that it has witnessed a downturn in its increasing trend in the last 2 years. This could be attributed to various factors such as Brexit, change in international trade policy of the new US administration or even stagnancy in furniture industry developments. Furniture Market Research Reports highlight that the major countries importing furniture are United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Canada. Export on the other hand saw a major change with Vietnam surpassing USA in the list of major exporters.
Market Trend: There is no doubt that furniture is not a dynamic industry and does involve some level of stagnancy in its products. That said some companies like Haworth are actually trying to incorporate technological advancements in their furniture manufacturing business in order to tackle the dynamic environment. In order to overcome this paradigm shift Haworth has come up with a new product ‘Bluescape’ which offers virtual work spaces and eliminates the need to purchase costly boards, projectors etc. and allows dispersed teams to organize, design, decide, share and deliver on team or collaborative projects. In USA and countries of Europe, another similar kind of technology that has surfaced into the furniture industry is Virtual Reality. In order to improve consumer engagement furniture manufacturers and dealers are in demand of more and more VR content. By doing it allows the manufacturers to digitize their products and create digital assets to improve their efficiency. VR technologies tend to use digital assets (3D models) in order to create interactive virtual work spaces. This technology allows companies to show their customers entire set of production collections without maintaining huge inventories. Such 3D models also enable them to highlight product features and display product concepts. Dealers create entire virtual showrooms and virtual tours that consist of real life like environments designed to connect with customers. This also benefits the consumers as they can now access the virtual environment 24/7 with the simple use of a desktop or a virtual reality headset.
Competition: Furniture dealers and manufacturers have been keeping an eye for the best partner in order to ensure their consumers the best augmented/virtual reality experience. Ashley Furniture Industries, North America’s largest furniture retailer is closely working with Merxent, a leader in augmented and virtual reality for products and spaces. IKEA has partnered with Apple to take advantage of apple’s augmented reality services in USA and countries of Europe. SERVEX US and sayduck are some other AR/VR companies working on similar concept of redefining furniture industry.
Conclusion: Over the years we are seeing a shift away from cubicles to open desks and café tables or other flexible yet multiuse work spaces. With concepts such as activity based planning, instead of a single space that fits the needs of many worker, Augmented and Virtual Industry enable workers to decide their working space on their own that would allow them to work at their best.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications