The office furniture market in China is in rapid development. After China joined the WTO, the tariff on office furniture decreased, triggering the increase of the office furniture export. Meanwhile, China is also one of the largest office furniture consumption countries. According to Qianzhan, the revenue of the office furniture market in China was over 181 billion yuan in 2017.
[Data Source: Qianzhan “Annual Sales Revenue of the office furniture market in China”]
Main competitors in the office furniture market in China
After the reform and the opening up, numerous brands appeared in the office furniture market in China. Both domestic and foreign office furniture companies play an important part in China’s office furniture market.
The office furniture market in China shows regionalism
China is one of the largest production and consumption countries of office furniture. In 2018, the number of office furniture enterprises in China was over 1,100. Office furniture enterprises are mainly in five areas-Northeast district, Yangtze River Delta district, West district, Bohai Bay Rim district, and Pearl River Delta district. Northeast industrial district, Yangtze River Delta industrial district, and Pearl Delta industrial district are mainly on target to export. The other two industrial districts focus on the domestic market.
China Brand selected the Top 10 office furniture brands in China
[Source: China Brand “Top 10 Office Furniture Brands in China”]
High-end foreign office furniture brands are also popular in the office furniture market in China.
Foreign brands in the furniture industry pay more attention to the integration of the office environment. International brands always pursue freedom, privacy, and easy use. Thus, these brands are popular among large enterprises which desire to provide a comfortable work environment for their employees. Herman Miller, a famous American office furniture brand, created the “action office”, still widely adopted by many companies nowadays. The Embody Chair, one of its products, combines the body mechanics perfectly and even appeared in companies’ recruitment advertisement.
New vibrant trends in the office furniture market in China
In the past, Chinese office furniture was usually mahogany and archaistic. Even though such furniture has a high value for collection, it is not comfortable in the workplace. With the construction of smart buildings, there is more need for modern office furniture in China.
[Source: Pixabay and daxue consulting “Office Furniture Preference Change in China”]
Customized office furniture is becoming popular in China.
Currently, more companies choose customized office furniture, as it can adapt to the working environment. Customized office furniture usually combines physical mechanics and health management to make users comfortable. In April 2020, Luo Yonghao sold 5 million ergonomic chairs in one live-stream. Customized office furniture can also utilize space effectively. Meanwhile, companies are free to choose their preferred materials and style to show their companies’ unique features. Particularly, the 80’s and 90’s generation in China like to use special symbols to represent their uniqueness.
[Source: Weibo “5 million ergonomic chairs were sold out”]
Information systems and personalized production technology are important for customized office furniture as well. In recent years, China’s customized office furniture gradually reduced its dependence on overseas technology. In the past, German’s HOMAG used to monopolize the production of the equipment that produces customized office furniture in China. Now, domestic brands are leading the equipment production. Thus, more office furniture companies in China started to buy domestic equipment, triggering the boom of the customized office furniture in China.
Green office furniture is becoming the mainstream in China’s offices.
Following the trend of green consumption in China, consumers are becoming aware of potential environmental threats of office furniture. Office furniture with heavy metal and BTEX is not environmentally friendly and harmful to people’s health. Thus, consumers pay more attention to green office furniture. As a major office furniture exporter, China’s office furniture producers are closer to international standards. Meanwhile, China’s government issued policies to drive green production. Once companies are reported to disobey the laws, their brand reputation would be destroyed.
Office furniture’s E-commerce era in China
E-commerce is growing rapidly in China. The office furniture market cannot avoid utilizing the internet to broaden their sale channels. According to Guanghuijiaju, Linshimuye’s sales revenue broke 110 million yuan in 2013’s double 11. Online stores can integrate with offline stores. On TMall, consumers can find over 24 thousand pieces of office furniture. Many office furniture pieces’ monthly sales can surpass a thousand pieces. Not only do online channels provide B2C services to complement retail, but it also benefits B2B office furniture sales. On Alibaba, there are more than 40 thousand pieces of office furniture selling for wholesalers.
[Source: TMall “Consumers can find numerous office furniture in TMall and many sell well”]
[Source: Alibaba “Wholesalers can find numerous office furniture in Alibaba”]
Issues in the office furniture market in China influence its development.
China’s office furniture market achieved great progress in the past decades. The profits and the number of the office furniture enterprises rose sharply. . However, there are still some issues that block the development of the office furniture market.
Homogenization is severe in the office furniture market in China
Many kinds of office furniture are available in the market. Some of them have similar designs, which make it hard to make decisions. When well-known brands spend much effort in designing one fine piece of office furniture, other brands copy it without breaking a sweat. In 2016 at the Guangzhou Furniture Exhibition, Tenglong Furniture was accused of copying Makorhome’s products, according to zhuangyi.com. It also causes designers to lose enthusiasm to innovate. Even though China’s government introduced laws to restrain such action, similar phenomena still occur. The problem of counterfeiting in China is widespread across industries, especially luxury.
The office furniture market in China is short of brand marketing
Although various brands exist in the office furniture market in China, the market does not build household names. Most of the top 10 office furniture brands are limited in certain regions and lack of awareness in the countrywide market. Few office furniture brands in China are able to come into the public. Meanwhile, some reports unveiled that their marketing strategies failed to highlight their products. They blindly imitated other companies’ behaviors. For example, one company invites a star to be the representative. Other brands may follow their methods while not considering the links between their products and stars.
The office furniture market in China has potential but is challenging.
The office furniture market in China gradually built into an industrial-scale business through several decades of evolution. Yet the market still contains many issues, the market is improving. In the long term, due to the booming need, the office furniture market in China still has potential.