Did you know that the office furniture industry can serve as an indicator of the overall health of the economy? When you think about it, the concept makes sense. After all, when businesses are starting, expanding or upgrading, they are most likely to be in the market for office furniture. When the future appears less certain, sales drop off sharply as companies postpone purchases until a later time. Lately, the state of the economy has been the subject of much speculation. Here are several office furniture facts that may give you an idea of where things are headed.
The Big Picture
After taking a huge hit in 2009 (dropping almost 30%), office furniture demand increased in both 2010 and 2011. However, only half of the previous downturn has been overcome. So, while sales may trend upward again overall in 2012, it’s still likely to be a couple of years before we see pre-2009 numbers again. According to one industry source, office furniture manufacturers have been forced to decrease their production volume due to slow demand. That’s an indication that business consumers don’t feel all that confident about the near future.
Of course, these numbers only include new purchases. They don’t take into account leasing – which is often an alternative companies choose when they aren’t ready to commit to buying new office furniture. Cort Business Services, a major player in the furniture leasing field, says their rental demand isn’t decreasing. However, it is growing more slowly than expected. That’s another indication that businesses are trying to make do with what they have rather than branching out and trying something new.
Are you planning to make any office furniture purchases this year? Have you been putting this task off because you think you can’t afford it? Consider buying refurbished or used office furniture instead of new. There’s plenty available and prices are always low!