Residential furniture orders dropped nine percent in December 2017 compared to the year prior, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors from Smith Leonard. December's drop is only the second time in 2017 where new orders decreased compared with the same month in the year prior.
The good news for 2017 was that year-to-date, and new orders were up six percent over last year, with shipments also up four percent. "In spite of the slow finish in December, 2017 was what we would say was a decent year," noted Ken Smith, managing partner at Smith Leonard. "While there were a few participants up low double digits, the participants in general were fairly close together."
Shipments in December dipped seven percent compared to the same period in 2016, with about 60 percent of the participants reporting declines. Backlogs fell 10 percent compared to November, and also down four percent compared to December 2016, Smith Leonard reported.
On the retail side, sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 4.7 percent in January over January 2017 on an adjusted basis and 6.6 percent unadjusted, according to the report. Consumer confidence reports are also positive.