It seems like furniture is taking forever to arrive, and if you're like me, you're probably wondering why that's the case. After all, it's not like furniture is a new invention - people have been buying tables and chairs for centuries! So what's going on? Why is it taking so long for our furniture to arrive? Well, the obvious answer your mind may go to is COVID-19, but how can a virus affect the processes that have existed for years? These past couple of years, everyone has been hit hard by a series of unfortunate events that have all contributed to the delay in furniture shipping, and now it has become a perfect storm of keeping your couch for more months than you would have liked.
The Lasting Effects of COVID-19 Overseas
COVID-19 has not just affected the United States, but the entire world. A virus knows no borders, and it has disrupted the way we live in ways that we could never have imagined. For furniture shipping, one of the most significant impacts has been on the Chinese factories. In China, furniture production accounts for a large majority of their exports - approximately 60%. In order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within their own country, the Chinese government implemented a series of strict measures, including shutting down factories. This had an immediate and lasting impact on furniture production all over the world, as China is one of the largest suppliers of furniture.
Another country that has been hit hard by COVID-19 is Vietnam. Vietnam, is the largest exporter of furniture into the U.S., according to Furniture Today. The country has, unfortunately, also been hit hard by COVID-19. This means that furniture production in Vietnam - as well as other countries in the region - has come to a standstill.
The Suez Canal Blockage
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, another reason furniture is taking so long is due to the blockage of the Suez Canal. The canal is a vital transportation route for goods traveling between Europe and Asia, and in March of 2021, a cargo ship got lodged in that canal for six days. That lodged cargo ship resulted in delays of many other ships, several of which were filled with furniture.
The 2021 Freeze in Texas
Finally, furniture is also taking a long time to arrive because of the freeze in Texas. In 2021, the state of Texas experienced an unexpected freeze that forced the temporary shutdown of factories. U.S.-made furniture depends on the chemical factories in Texas for a lot of the necessary components to make foam, so that put companies even further behind than before.
Even if we can get the product in the U.S., they get stuck in transit. Whether it be ports, or not enough people to handle long-distance delivery because of COVID-19. Everything is so backed up, that the average amount ports can usually handle has tripled in the process.
It's frustrating to wait for furniture that feels like it's taking forever to arrive, but hopefully this article has helped you understand some of the reasons behind the delay. There are other options of course. Local furniture stores, such as Couch Potatoes, are able to get Austinites there furniture quicker because we make it ourselves. There are also second-hand stores, furniture consignment stores, and online shopping (often overly expensive, for shoddy quality). For everyone involved we hope things work themselves out, and everything is put into motion once more.
Couch Potatoes has locations in South and Central Austin. If you need furniture and can't wait 8 months, check us out.
Written by Emily Holleran