The situation and development of the Japanese furniture market

In 2018, the Japanese home improvement market reached 35.3 trillion yen, or about 330 billion US dollars. Currently, the Japanese home furnishings market is in the midst of a long recovery period, but it has yet to return to the size of about ¥6 trillion before the bubble economy burst in 1991.

At the same time, Japan’s furniture and home furnishing design style has great appeal around the world.


Although Japan and the United States are both developed countries, the home furnishing industry has very different characteristics.


First of all, after the bursting of the bubble economy, Japan gradually entered the fourth consumer era, consumer behavior tends to be rational. From large purchases driven by life stages such as marriage, housewarming and divorce to small, frequent purchases based on actual needs, the influence of fashion trends on consumer behavior is becoming more apparent.


In the past, Japanese consumers purchased furniture and home furnishings in large one-off quantities and at relatively low frequencies. These large purchases generally occurred during major life transitions such as marriage, relocation and divorce, with Japanese consumers considering furniture and furnishings as a “once-in-a-lifetime event” and preferring to spend more money on quality and durable goods.


Secondly, the Japanese home furnishing industry is consolidating. In the 20 years from 1996 to 2016, nearly two-thirds of furniture manufacturers and wholesalers went out of business, and consolidation will continue in the future.

From 1998 to 2016, the number of new housing starts declined by 12%. After the bubble burst, the average Japanese income turned downward and the lifetime unmarried rate began to rise sharply for both sexes, rising by 3 percentage points from 2010 to 2015 alone.


According to a study by the Japanese research organization “Hakuhodo”, by 2035, the lifetime unmarried rate of Japanese men will be close to 30%, women will be close to 20%, and there will be 48.05 million single people over the age of 15, that is, about half of the Japanese will live a single life.


The number of new housing starts has a direct impact on the number of houses entering the home improvement market, and the increase in the number of unmarried people will correspondingly create variables in terms of housing condition, demand for furnishings and furniture. The new situation poses a challenge for some companies and will be an opportunity for others.

Post time: May-17-2021