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Bed manufacturers see optimism slide away

bedOptimism among UK bed manufacturers has declined sharply over concerns about order levels as companies struggle with ongoing cost, supply and skills shortages.

In the latest NBF Tracker report covering January to March 2022 reveals the full impact of the rising cost of living and the global economic and political crisis on the bed industry, with members signposted their increasing concern about the state of trade, with 29% saying they were pessimistic. This is almost double the previous quarter, whilst those stating they were optimistic halved from 36% to 18%. In the same period in 2021, optimism was at a high of 43%. 

The survey found that on a like for like basis, total estimated UK sales volumes were 15% up on the same period in 2021 and revenue up by 20%. 

Costs continue to rise sharply, with 85% of responding members reporting increases of more than 5%. This compares to 79% in the previous quarter and 83% in the same period in 2021. 

Margins continue to be squeezed, with 60% of the respondents reporting some - and 23% a significant - decrease. 

‘These are tough times for everyone, especially manufacturers of big-ticket items such as beds, as consumers choose to defer their purchase. Over half of our members reported concerns about order levels, compared to a third in the last quarter. A year ago, it was only 18%, which shows how serious the situation has become,’ says Simon Williams, NBF head of marketing and membership.

Availability of materials and components remains a concern, with 30% highlighting this as an issue affecting output. However, the number has almost halved since 2021 when it was a problem for 67%. Skills shortages also remains an ongoing issue, with 17% of members saying it is hampering output. This has eased since the last quarter (30%) but is significantly higher than the same period last year, when 6% reported it as a problem.