24 July 2024, 16:06
By Paul Farley Jul 08, 2024

What will the furniture industry look like in 2034?

Looking ahead is vital for any business – but what might lie beyond the short-term plans? In July's issue, Furniture News is dusting off its crystal ball to scry what the industry could look like a decade from now …

The year is 2034.

On the surface, much of it looks the same as today, but – indulge me a little sci-fi – looks can deceive.

While the UK remains an economic powerhouse, emerging Asian and African economies lead global growth. Climate change and energy crises have seen renewables take the fore, alongside stricter legislation. After several false starts, a moon base is now taking shape.

The population is bigger than ever and, thanks to new drugs, people are living longer. Another pandemic came and went (some lessons were learned), and people were reminded that their homes matter.

In business, vertical integration is commonplace, but even the brand giants and marketplaces have come to recognise which functions (and risks) they’d rather outsource. Similarly, while ecommerce has gained ground, the most successful mix digital and physical selling to great effect.

AI automation is everywhere. Workforces are smaller, and more geared towards strategy, creativity, personal exchange … and fixing the tech when it goes wrong. Some spend their lives inside the metaverse. Online visibility is measured in credibility, not spend. Language barriers are virtually non-existent. As the tech brands step into furniture, furniture comes with more tech.

Deliveries are driverless, and private health services now commonly prescribe mattresses and desk chairs. Home rental is more commonplace than ownership. The digital natives of Gen Z are now the most significant consumer base, but while their tastes have evolved, they generally conform to the behaviours of the generations before them. The more things change, the more they stay the same, indeed.

Furniture futures

Whether science fiction predicts or creates the future, it can’t hurt to speculate – just take anything you read with a healthy pinch of salt!

In July's Furniture News, we have asked some of our contributors to share their vision of what the industry – and their business – might look like, 10 years from now. Given the changing product/technological/lifestyle trends we see around us today, how do they envisage doing business in 2034? Are they making any decisions now that will help shape that outcome, and do they anticipate any particular curveballs?

From the rise of D2C, AI and sustainable norms to a sleep-less society, smart mattresses, and being able to touch furniture that isn’t there, Furniture News invites you to step into our time machine


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