- The United States imports about $ 23 billion in furniture each year, two-thirds of which comes from Asia.
- The average cost of a 40-foot sea container increased five-fold two years ago.
Earlier this year, the estimated delivery time for a new sofa could easily be three months or more.
Buyers who have decided to delay their purchase until that number improves are still waiting, as the Long Beach standoff has nearly crippled the U.S. supply chain.
But now furniture buyers face another hurdle besides seemingly endless delivery times: the cost of shipping goods has skyrocketed.
Of course, there are a lot of variables involved when it comes to specific companies and their contracts, but that still means a lot of costs being passed on to customers.
The United States imports about $ 23 billion in furniture each year, according to a Furniture Today estimate based on government trade figures, and more than two-thirds comes from Asian markets, namely Vietnam and China.
When shipping rates were low, it made sense to manufacture everything from mass-produced wooden bed frames to custom-upholstered sofas in Vietnamese factories and ship them across the Pacific.
But a mix of pandemic disruption in Asia and growing consumer demand in the United States has contributed to a five-fold increase in the average cost of a standard 40-foot shipping container. Drewry’s World Container Index, which tracks prices for 40-foot containers, is currently around $ 10,000, down from less than $ 2,000 two years ago.
Not only are containers more expensive than ever, Drewry’s says the reliability of global shipping times is “at its lowest.”
“Two-thirds of all goods that attempt to enter this country arrive very late,” furniture industry analyst Ray Allegrezza told The Wall Street Journal. “I’ve never seen anything so crazy and it’s not going to get better anytime soon.”
Some interior designers told the Journal that they are increasingly sourcing from local manufacturers for projects, and a furniture craftsman told Insider earlier this year he was seeing an increase in the number of clients rehabilitating and restoring older rooms.
Tuesday, the CEO of a prominent contract
As to when Allegrezza expects furniture delivery times to return to normal, “experts may say 2023,” he said.
Are you waiting for an order for furniture to arrive? Email Dominick to share your story.