Crippling Shipping costs affecting UK Furniture Prices

The cost of shipping containers has increased by over 500% since last year, as lockdowns unleashed unprecedented demand for consumer goods being shipped from the Far East.

Nottingham based online furnishing retailer, My-Furniture.com, supplies furniture for homes in the UK and across Europe. The company based in a 200,000 square foot ex-Tesco Warehouse in Long Eaton, holds stock of their wide range of furnishing products and lighting in their warehouse for distribution across the UK and Europe.

Like all importers, My Furniture is feeling the effects of serious bottlenecks in the global container shipping industry, which have led to delays and pushed up prices. Although it does use suppliers in the UK, most of its stock is imported from Asia, amounting to several hundred containers each year.

Managing Director, Dimitri Pappas commented “The rise in shipping costs has taken a heavy toll on our business. Furniture is probably the business that has been affected the most as we tend to ship big bulky items across the world that do not carry as much value as for example TVs or mobile phones. The shipping cost of a sofa has typically increased from £200 to £300. We physically can’t absorb the extra costs and we have to pass them on,” he explains. We have received several complaints from customers on the matter and we find it very hard to justify to them the astronomical shipping prices we are up against.

He continued “The price rises have been triggered by a long-running period of intense disruption in the container shipping industry, initially provoked by the Covid outbreak. A collapse in demand during the early stages of the pandemic was followed by a period of frenzied activity, as people who were forced to stay at home rather than travel or socialise, ordered large quantities of consumer goods.

The good news is that MY Furniture have consolidated their range, focusing on exclusive designs and high-quality products which still offer great value to their customers.

Mr Pappas added “We used the time during the pandemic to work on creating hundreds of new designs and exclusive ranges with our suppliers which we know willappeal to our niche customer base. Although we have had issues getting supplies to our warehouse we are now fully stocked and able to supply our entire range of products again.” He added “We are still hoping that shipping costs will eventually drop back down to pre-pandemic levels and we can then pass on these savings to our customers.”