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Custom Woodworking: Challenges and Trends for Furniture Manufacturers

Custom Woodworking Challenges and Trends

The custom furniture woodworking industry has seen a rise in purchases even through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Because people were stuck at home throughout the year, their shopping habits changed significantly. Many people have experienced the sudden urge to create a comfortable and intimate living space for themselves and their families.

The custom woodworking industry faced numerous challenges. At the same time, many trends began to form. Those businesses that already had a digital presence saw their revenues grow considerably. In contrast, custom woodworking businesses that had not yet made the digital transition struggled to serve their customers.

Challenges for Furniture Manufacturers

Following are a few challenges the custom woodworking industry has recently faced:

Flexible Supply Chain

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, furniture manufacturers relied on Italy and China for materials and finished products. Unfortunately, both of these countries were severely hit by the pandemic. Having no other options, many furniture businesses had to shut down as they could not function with a disrupted supply chain.

Stellar Websites

Due to the pandemic, the stress for furniture manufacturers to go digital has increased tremendously. Many customers had shifted to online shopping and marketplaces before the virus. Online activity significantly increased after the lockdowns. Multitudes of customers took to ordering woodworking plans and millwork shop drawings, online. If a furniture manufacturer’s website was less than stellar, some customers may have ordered elsewhere.

Customer Experience

Customer experiences and their reviews help create a brand image. It may not be enough to simply have a great website. Customer service often plays a key role in creating a satisfying online experience. With the workforce being decimated by the quarantines, creating a satisfactory online customer experience became more of a challenge.

Trends for Furniture Manufacturers

  • Furniture manufacturers who have solely done business physically in the recent past, have now embraced the need to shift to offering an online shopping alternative.
  • In recent years, free shipping is expected by most buyers with every purchase they make.
  • Millennials have taken a keen interest in custom furniture in recent years. Because they expect instant satisfaction, they tend to favor cash-and-carry models. Pre-assembled pieces have been trending.
  • Facebook and Instagram have become big e-Commerce platforms and provide personalized services, streamlined purchase processes, and purchase directly from the feed. This trend is expected to grow tremendously in the coming years.


The furniture manufacturers are expected to evolve and adapt to these trends quickly. They must take on the challenges they are facing and find solutions for customer satisfaction. Those businesses that already have adopted these furniture industry trends, can expect a smoother transition, and possibly an improved bottom line, moving forward.