The total value of exports of UK-manufactured furniture increased by nearly +20% YoY in 2017, according to the latest overseas trade review by British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM).

The report, based on the sector's performance throughout 2017, revealed that exports to the EU had risen by +19.6%, with similar percentage increases when categorised between EU and non-EU countries.

Mike Dimond, BFM's director of employment and membership, says: "Despite improvement in the total value of exports, our review also highlights that the trade deficit between imports and exports of all furniture grew from £4.3b in 2016 to £4.6b in 2017.

"It showed that all sectors reported an increase in export levels, with kitchen furniture reporting the highest level of overall growth at +50.5%, with exports to non-EU countries increasing by +86.6% and +6.1% to EU countries."

The BFM report shows that within the EU, France is the favoured destination for exports of all UK-manufactured furniture, rising by +50% in the year to reach a value of £316m.

However, in the traditional areas of furniture - apart from office and shop furniture - the Republic of Ireland topped all EU exporting destinations, with exports totalling £296m – an increase of +7% on 2016.

Outside the EU, the US tops the table in every furniture category, showing a value of £645m, a rise of +21% in the year. However, exports to China rose by +78% to £147m, and Hong Kong by +107% to £96m. 

With regards to incoming product, the BFM notes that there was an +11% increase in furniture imports, with little difference between the performances of EU countries compared to non-EU countries.

While China dominates in all sectors for imports from outside the EU - seeing an increase of +3% to reach a value of £2.1b - Italy topped the list of EU countries, with a rise of +15% over the year.

However, the most notable improvement in imports came from the US, the value growing by +51% to £349m.

The full BFM furniture trade report is available to members of the association, and can be found via the members' area of the site.