The U.S. has more than doubled the imports of wood furniture during the period 1999-2006 (i.e. from $6.7 billion to $15.6 billion. Imported wooden furniture products accounted for $15.6 billion in 2006 !). The demand for outdoor furniture and grills ($5 billion industry) will grow 5.4% annually through 2008. The increasing popularity for decks, patios and porches contributes to this phenomenon.
Metal outdoor furniture is the preferred material in the U.S., accounting for 60% of total demand in 2003 (within this market, tubular aluminum remains popular due to its lower cost over wrought iron or other metal outdoor furniture). Wood Plastic outdoor furniture (17% of total demand in 2003) is expected to be the fastest growing material due to its ease of caring, high durability, and the introduction of many up-scale designs into the market. Wood represented approximately 5% of the demand of outdoor furniture in 2003. Outdoor furniture from durable, decorative tropical timbers offers huge opportunities for SME from developing countries to supply quality products as well as scope for obtaining high profit margins. Their manufacturing is labor-intensive without requiring high capital machinery investments. SFME would benefit from marketing and export support (eventually through producer/traders associations) . Successful example is the teak based artisanal furniture export industry from Indonesia.