The UK furniture fittings market experienced steady growth in the years to 2007, before declining in the 2008-2011 period, as the financial crisis affected the domestic furniture market. Further solid growth has taken place since then, and the market is estimated to have grown by 5% at manufacturers’ selling prices (MSP) in 2015. The sector has benefited from growth trends in recent years in the domestic furniture market, particularly the kitchen furniture sector. Overall average growth on an annual basis has been around 3-4% since 2011, which is higher growth compared to the furniture market as a whole, but broadly in line with the development of the kitchen furniture sector.
Hinges form the major product sector, accounting for over 35% of the market. The kitchen furniture sector represents a significant market for furniture fittings, and account for over 60% of fittings sales, followed by bedroom furniture and dining/occasional furniture. As well as good growth in some key end use sectors, the furniture fittings sector has also been supported by ongoing product development by suppliers, the trend towards more storage facilities in the home, trading up to soft close drawers, along with a wider range of specialist equipment designed for elderly or disabled householders.
Key issues that have influenced the UK furniture market in recent years include a blurring of distinction between the kitchen and dining room, with less formality in the home and a move towards open plan living, and an emphasis on aesthetics and stylish designs with a move towards curved lines. This move away from a functional form has meant that accessory suppliers have had to develop added value, innovatory storage solutions to make the most of all the available space.
The total market for furniture fittings is forecast to show good growth in the period to 2020, with growth likely in all product sectors. Key drivers include reasonably positive economic conditions compared to the last five years, and a rising population and the need for a significant increase in housing construction should provide strong demand for domestic furniture, including kitchen furniture. In addition to the demand created by rising sales in the domestic furniture market, the manufacturers and suppliers of furniture fittings are likely to provide added value to their market sector by developing new and improved products. Particular product areas where development is likely to take place include interior storage solutions, driven by space limitations in modern housing in the UK and equipment for disabled and less mobile customers, as the population demographics move towards an ageing population.