As a mature market, upholstered furniture remains mainly a non-essential purchase with lengthy replacement cycles and therefore can be deferred in times of economic constraint, according to the new report by AMA Research.

The market is responsive to levels of consumer confidence, the performance of the housing market, changes in disposable income and so on. Nevertheless, the market has shown above average growth since 2012.

Within the upholstered furniture market, purchasing patterns have changed considerably in the last decade and most manufacturers and retailers now offer a number of furniture pieces within a range.

As a result of this, the value mix of products has continued to change, with customers favouring more informal and contemporary combinations of sofas and armchairs, including action furniture in either category.

Suites continue to form the bulk of purchases in this sector, accounting for over half of the market, however, this has dropped in recent years. Sales of single sofas are the fastest growing sector within the market and now account for over a third of the market.

In terms of material mix, the share accounted for by leather has declined marginally over the last 3-5 years, with the wide range of colours and styles are supporting the growth of the fabric sector.

“The popularity of modern and contemporary furniture seems to favour alternative furniture combinations, rather than the traditional 3-piece suites. This is reflected in the range of design options now offered, including corner sofas, u-shaped sofas and chaise sofas.” Stated AMA’s Head of Research, Hayley Thornley.

“In addition, subtle patterns are increasingly being used within both contemporary and traditional upholstery styles. Stronger colours are also growing, in line with neutral décor and contemporary styles.”

Total sales of upholstered furniture are forecast to see continued growth to 2022, although the rate of growth is expected to be lower than in the last few years, due mainly to the factors mentioned earlier.

This article is based on analysis and insight from AMA Research’s ‘Upholstered Furniture and Beds Market Report – UK 2018-2022‘ which is available for purchase now.