COVID-19 and a Trade War Impact the Furniture Market in the Triad

COVID-19 and a Trade War Impact the Furniture Market in the Triad

As one of the world’s largest furniture-related markets, North Carolina continues adapting to COVID-19 day by day. As summer ends, recent business trends cause concerns for the future of North Carolina’s furniture market, especially in the Triad.

During the country’s last major economic crisis, the NC furniture market saw a 38% decrease in exports from 2008 to 2009.  Additionally, information from the NC Global Economy stated that, “China dominates U.S. imports, accounting for more than half of total NC furniture imports in 2012.”

A similiar trend emerges with the past overtures at a trade war. China and COVID have become the most recent players to impact both the local and national economy.

The Trade War

Imports from China make up a portion of the U.S. economy. In 2018, bedding and furniture imports from China totaled $35 billion, per the Office of the United States Trade Representative. But, over 750 days after the current tariffs began, the furniture industry still feels negative impacts.

On Aug. 7, more furniture-related materials joined the newest trade exemptions. The most recent list includes some furniture related items, such as “Household furniture of metal and high-pressure laminated bamboo.” A full list of the USTR’s tariff exemptions (for Aug. 7 through the end of 2020) may be found here.

Though the trade disputes continue, this trend of furniture-related items becoming exempt promises better things for the Triad furniture market.



According to Statia, in December 2019, “U.S. furniture and home furnishing store sales amounted to about 11 billion U.S. dollars.”

However, “In April 2020, sales fell to 3.9 billion U.S. dollars due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

The most recent data from the study shows an 84% increase from April 2020 to May 2020. The current uptick in the lumber market also influenced the rise in furniture market sales during COVID-19.  NCND recently reported how COVID-19 ties into home improvement: demand for lumber has been higher among households and businesses during the current pandemic.

These upward trends signal good news for the furniture market in North Carolina (along with the Triad area).

The Future for the Furniture Market

With fall nearly upon us, High Point Furniture Market on the horizon and the extension of “North Carolina’s ‘Safer At Home Phase 2’” until mid September, the market is ready for a change.  The outlook on the situation grows with anticipation as current trends show a better future for the furniture market in NC.