Summary of our market study

The global office furniture market, valued at $55.6 billion, was expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.7%, with North America accounting for around a third of market share. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was expected to have a negative impact on the industry, requiring manufacturers to adapt due to changes in workplace dynamics, including a shift towards a mix of traditional offices, home-based teleworking and third places. The Belgian office furniture trade remains in deficit, with a coverage rate of 61.7% (exports/imports), and the sector is characterized by a fragmented market with many SMEs.

While demand for office furniture has been influenced by the dynamics of office construction, telecommuting trends and changes in workspace organization, the increase in sustainability and the integration of technology into furniture, such as the trend towards connected, eco-responsible and flexible furniture, was likely to shape future demand patterns.

Market dynamics and trends in the Belgian office furniture sector

The office furniture market in Belgium has undergone a series of transformations and trends influenced by various determinants of demand and the evolution of the workplace. With a scope that encompasses a range of products such as desks, chairs and cabinets, the Belgian market is part of a global industry that, according to Research Nester, has soared from around $55.6 billion to around $87.6 billion by 2024. This growth is being driven by the expansion of the tertiary economy in several developing countries.

In Belgium, a mature market, the office furniture sector has seen modest growth. Despite this growth, the market is characterized by fragmentation, with many small manufacturers. Belgium's exports in the sector have been significant, reaching nearly $80-100 million. However, the trade deficit shows a robust level of imports, exceeding exports and indicating strong foreign competition. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic brought potential challenges for manufacturers, who had to navigate the new reality of changing office landscapes, marked by a growing mix of traditional office environments, telecommuting and use of third-party locations. Trends point to an evolution towards office furniture that facilitates well-being, flexibility and collaboration in the workplace.

With regard to teleworking, which was practiced by around one in five employees in Belgium before the pandemic, demand for home office furniture has increased. This trend, which gained momentum during the pandemic, could imply a change or expansion in market demand in the future. Looking at the drivers of demand, the Belgian office furniture market reflects changes in new office construction and renovation trends. Here, the correlation with office real estate dynamics is explicit, with the Brussels region showing signs of saturation and a shift towards the periphery and the Flanders and Wallonia regions.

In addition, a ten-year average turnover of office furniture stock is observed, in line with asset depreciation in office real estate. There have also been significant developments in supply, with the market mainly made up of small and medium-sized companies, alongside international competitors. Innovation in product and service design, such as connected furniture adapted to modern collaborative spaces, is a growing trend. A Belgian startup, Enky, bears witness to these trends, offering an eco-friendly subscription-based office furniture solution that aligns with the circular economy. In terms of trade, the Belgian office furniture sector shows a considerable balance between imported and exported goods, with imports coming mainly from abroad.

Profile of key players in the evolving office furniture landscape As the office furniture market continues to adapt to changing workplace dynamics and a growing emphasis on sustainability and well-being, a diverse range of players has emerged, each bringing their own unique offerings to the table.

Here we profile some of the leading companies shaping the office furniture industry, based on the analysis detailed above.

Belgian manufacturers set the bar high

  • Robberechts: Robberechts is a steadfast contributor to the Belgian office furniture industry and has established itself as a reliable source of high-quality office products. It maintains a strong production presence, meeting the needs of companies that value durability and functionality in their office environments.
  • Sitis: Sitis is not only a manufacturer, but also a distributor, bridging the gap between production and supply. Its dual role gives it a unique perspective on both ends of the market, ensuring that its products are designed with the consumer in mind.
  • Waveinside: At the cutting edge of technological integration, Waveinside is a pioneer in the development of connected office furniture. They meet the growing demand for smart, collaborative workspaces adapted to the digital age, with integrated screens, charging points and plug-and-play solutions for seamless connectivity.

Startups at the forefront of innovation

  • Enky: Founded in 2019, this startup is redefining the office furniture industry with its "furniture as a service" model focused on eco-responsibility. With the promise of refurbishing and reselling returned parts, Enky's business model is in line with the circular economy trend, offering environmentally conscious companies options that align with their values.

Distribution specialists connecting global leaders

  • Alternativ: As an official distributor of Steelcase, the world leader in office furniture, Alternativ plays a vital role between international manufacturing prowess and the local business landscape. Its offerings bring world-class design and innovation to the local market.
  • Buro Market: A leading Belgian company specializing in workspaces and office supplies, the recent acquisition of Buro Market by French group Bureau Vallée signifies a strategic expansion that could enable the brand to consolidate its footprint in the European market. **E-commerce innovators and distributors
  • Berhin: Targeting the online consumer, Berhin has made a name for itself in the e-commerce space for office furniture. Its online presence not only modernizes the shopping experience, but also underscores its commitment to meeting contemporary purchasing preferences.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

Office furniture manufacturers manufacture a wide variety of items for different working environments . This furniture is marketed to professionals (businesses, shops and communities), e.g. for individual workstations, meeting rooms or open-space. The main products include desks, chairs and cupboards. We can differentiate between new furniture and used furniture, or even rental furniture

On a global level, the market is in sharp rise The growth of the tertiary economy in many developing countries is driving this trend. Among the leading companies in the sector are the American Steelcase or Nowy Styl

In Belgium, the market is rather mature but experienced a slight growth between 2017 and 2019 . The manufacturers' market remains fairly fragmented with a significant number of small companies. The external market is important for Belgian producers since exports were worth nearly US$89 million in 2019 . However, Belgian foreign trade in office furniture remains in deficit

The Covid crisis is nevertheless expected to have a negative impact on business in 2020, and office furniture manufacturers will have to adapt in the face of the changes in workplaces and workspaces in the post-covid world-19 The trend is towards a mix between traditional offices, home teleworking and third party locations.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Global office furniture market
  • Evolution du chiffre d'affaires de la fabrication de meubles de bureau et de magasin
  • Evolution du chiffres d'affaires de l'industrie belge de l'ammeublement
  • Evolution de la construction d'immobilier commercial neuf
  • Evolution du volume d'investissement dans les bureaux à Bruxelles
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Latest news

Steelcase remanufactures its office chairs - 04/04/2024
  • Year of launch of "remanufacturing" offer: end 2023.
  • Employment at the plant: 350 employees (including temporary staff).
  • Annual production: 600,000 office chairs.
  • Sales in 2023: 150 million euros.
Altrnativ, former Qwant CEO's cybersecurity startup, raises €1 million - 06/04/2021
  • Altrnativ raises €1 million from Sipartech and Map Iberia Investments
  • Altrnativ launches its first commercial offers
  • Altrnativ, which currently employs 25 people, aims to reduce the vulnerability of IT systems and communication tools used by public authorities, businesses and private individuals

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

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the office furniture market | Belgium

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