IHFRA Surveys Members On Impact Of China Tariffs

- Nov 10, 2018-

HIGH POINT — More than one-third of the International Home Furnishings Representatives Assn. members responding to a recent survey believe the proposed 25% tariffs will cause furniture suppliers to shift product to countries other than China.

The International Home Furnishing Representatives Assn. and market research firm Leflein Associates Inc. fielded a survey among IHFRA members on how current and future tariffs might impact the landscape of the home furnishings sector.

Based on input from nearly 340 IHFRA members (including independent sales representatives, suppliers, retailers and others active in the home furnishings sector), more than 40% of the respondents believe that tariffs will cause furniture suppliers to move away from China.

Some 35% of the respondents are also predicting that manufacturers will have to adjust pricing as a result. And more than half of those surveyed said customers will end up paying more for goods impacted by tariffs.

“This survey underscores the volatility the industry may be facing should higher tariffs come into play in coming weeks and months,” said Ray Allegrezza, IHFRA executive director.

The challenge, he added, is that the issue of tariffs comes at a time when furniture sales have not seemed to keep pace with a steadily improving economy.

“As opposed to the earlier tariffs against Chinese imports, which took hold at the end of September and targeted some $200 billion at 10%, the impending tariffs, set for Jan. 1, 2019, will come in at 25%,” he said. “But here is the rub: While the earlier tariffs mostly hit materials, about 25% of the planned tariffs will target consumer goods directly, making the perceptions of our survey respondents right on the money.”

Allegrezza projects that sales of furniture, electronics and computers will feel the brunt of higher prices.

A majority of those responding to the survey, 67%, also believe high-end furniture will be the least impacted of any prices range.