Australian made versus imported in timber furniture

One of the points to consider when purchasing timber furniture is ‘should I buy Australian made or imported?’ In this article I will conduct a comparison between buying Australiana made timber furniture and imported timber furniture.

First off when you buy Australian made timber furniture you support the local economy by keeping Australian companies in business. In turn local businesses can keep their staff employed, providing jobs for Australians. The money will also stay in Australia because the local manufacturers will buy their materials from Australian timber mills. Everyone in Australia wins by you buying Australian made timber furniture. When you buy imported furniture the local retailers still do business and employ Australians. The difference is the manufacturing is done overseas and so potential jobs for Australians are lost. Not only that, but part of the profits in the process of making end up in other countries. The good news is for consumers the price is often less expensive.

The hot topic in recent times is about climate change and so environmentally sustainable methods of manufacturing timber furniture have become an important consideration for many Australians. Australia’s Forest Management is eco-friendly and amongst the best in the world – Only 6% of Australia’s 147 million hectares of native forests is public forest potentially available for timber harvesting, only 1% of which is commercially harvested.
On writing this article China is shifting from harvesting forests to sustainably harvested timber plantations. However they also source their timber from other parts of the world which means there is no certainty that the timber furniture coming from China is sustainably harvested or not.

Australian manufacturers are known for their high standards of production across all industries. In furniture this is especially true as we have some of the best furniture craftsmen in the world. What this means is as consumers you will pay more for Australian made products, but receive superior quality for it.
Imported timber furniture, such as from China, is usually very good quality these days. And it’s less expensive too. For many people the bottom line is price and for this reason they end up buying imported timber furniture.

How many times have you gone to a furniture store and asked them if you can get an item in different sizes, to have them say there’s only one size available? Or only 2 sizes for say a TV unit? That’s because those timber furniture ranges are made overseas in places like China. While the quality might be very good you often don’t get flexibility in choosing your own size. Many local manufacturers of Australian made timber furniture offer the option of making to your particular size, colour, timber and/or finish. This flexibility more than offsets the higher cost by providing all the flexibility you need to get exactly the timber furniture you want.

The final comparison is order time frames. Most Australian manufacturers tend to be consistent with their order times so when you are told 8 weeks, it will probably be 8 weeks. Here in Australia it pays to provide reliable service and those manufacturers who do this for retailers by supplying on promised delivery times will do more business.
Generally speaking if furniture is ordered in from overseas there are more factors that can delay delivery. One of the most common delays is in shipping between countries, which can blow out the order timeframe as much as a month or more. In China the government can pull workers out of factories to build public infrastructure such as roads whenever they want, which disrupts the manufacturing of goods, including timber furniture.

So there you have it. Australian made timber furniture supports the local economy, keeps Australians in jobs, is environmentally friendly, is high quality, is flexible in size, colour and design, and is usually reliable in delivery time. On the other hand imported timber furniture supports the economies of other countries, can be environmentally friendly, is usually good quality, often less expensive, comes in limited size, colour and design options, and delivery can be delayed.

What would you choose…Australian made or imported timber furniture?

Written by
Nathan Brown
Lifestyle Furniture