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Exports rebound, up 15% in 2021 – Furniture Today

HIGH POINT — The U.S. export market was back in the black in 2021, reversing its 9% decline in 2020 with a 15% gain to reach more than $2.303 billion. That figure is also up about 4.6% over pre-pandemic 2019’s $2.202 billion, signaling a continued return to normalcy.
According to Furniture Today research, Canada remained the largest trading partner for U.S. exports, receiving more than $1.56 billion in goods, or about 68% of all U.S. exports. Mexico with imports of $124.2 million, the United Kingdom ($45 million) and South Korea ($36.7 million) held on to their spots to round out the Top 5 with increases of 14%, 13% and 3%, respectively.
See related story: China edges out Vietnam to return as top exporter to U.S.
Australia also increased its importation of U.S.-made products by 5% to reach $27.8 million.
Business between the United States and the Bahamas was back to pre-pandemic levels, coming in at about $35.7 million, after an off year in 2020, while exports by the U.S. to Saudi Arabia dipped to $22.3 million, a decrease of 21% from the previous year.
Other countries showing negative changes from 2020 were Japan and China, although the declines of 3% and 6%, respectively, were smaller than in 2020. Germany, which had increased its imports from the United States in 2020, registered a 9% decrease in 2021 to $23.6 million despite moving to ninth from 10th among the Top 10.
The second tier of U.S. trading partners, all receiving more than $10 million in shipments during 2021, were United Arab Emirates ($18.2 million); France ($17.7 million); Cayman Islands ($14.8 million); Netherlands ($13.8 million); Dominican Republic ($12.4 million); Brazil ($10.9 million) and Taiwan ($10.6 million).
In total, the U.S. exported furniture to 184 countries in 2021.
Within the product categories exported by the United States in 2021, miscellaneous wood furniture held on to the No. 1 spot, accounting for $414.2 million, up 17% over 2020. This was followed by wood frame upholstered seats, which represented shipments of $273.3 million in 2021 and saw the largest gain of 33% among the leading categories.
Other export categories with double-digit increases were mattresses, up 19% to $193.1 million; wood frame upholstered chairs, up 23% to $173.7 million; wood bedroom furniture, up 11% to $148.1 million; plastic furniture, up 11% to $113.5 million; bedding foundations, up 12% to $110.9 million and seats other than metal or wood frame, up 12% to $109 million.
I’m Joanne Friedrick, research editor for the Home Furnishings Division. I began my career as a newspaper editor and then became a trade journalist, covering myriad industries including pension funds, supermarkets, gourmet food and security systems, just to name a few. Most recently, I entered the home furnishings category as a contributor for HFN and Home Textiles Today before transitioning into research where I now get to tell the stories behind the numbers for all of the HFD titles.
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