Chinese consumers going bespoke with custom furniture
The survey showed that the higher the respondents’ monthly household income, the higher proportion of them purchased bespoke products – with the proportion of those having ordered custom furniture rising from 11 to 52 per cent.
Bespoke wardrobe and furniture firm Suofeiya Home Collection’s president Sam Ke was interviewed by the researchers to discuss the latest trends in the Mainland Chinese custom-furniture market.
“As flexible production has been applied to the bespoke furniture industry in recent years,” he said, “combining mass production with personalised design has become possible.”
Using new production methods, “a factory can turn out more than 10,000 bespoke furniture items of all sizes, colours and specifications every day. This move not only greatly enhances the efficiency of bespoke production, but also meets the specific demands of consumers for different designs and features.”
Mass customisation has been made possible by harnessing technology, including the use of QR codes to automatically match order information with the right equipment before proceeding to automated production.
According to Ke, consumers in recent years are becoming more demanding when it comes to furniture design.
“While most traditional shops selling a single furniture brand carry only a few styles, Suofeiya’s outlets offer consumers a variety of ‘show flats’ with diverse styles from which customers can pick and choose. Moreover, through handling a large number of custom orders, the company has built a database of design cases.
“This wealth of experience not only helps the brand update its designs according to consumer demand and market trends, but also allows consumers to directly view bespoke furniture of various styles set against different model rooms. Consumers can also go online and search among the many options for the styles and designs they want. They can even provide their own design input, which can contribute to the overall decoration theme.”
Suofeiya’s outlets cover first- to fifth-tier cities across the country. In first-tier cities, a wider range of bespoke models is offered, catering to residential units large and small, including some atypical old houses. According to statistics, the demand for renovation of old houses in first-tier cities has been rising in the past decade or so.
In fourth- and fifth-tier cities, larger units, especially those with an area of more than 100sqm, are the mainstream, with most orders coming from the decoration of new houses.
Due to the massive database of drawings and styles contributed by designers, Suofeiya’s software will gradually be made freely accessible in the days to come. Users will select the furniture design and enter the required dimensions, and the rest of the work will be processed by the software.
Consumers can design their own furniture, making the whole design process more interesting and giving full play to personal inspirations.