Spending

Expect to wait 'up to 10 weeks or more' for furniture, experts say

"Just like anything else, furniture is being severely impacted by shipping delays."

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Furniture sales were up over 22% in September 2021 compared to September 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A hot housing market and a rise in hybrid work have contributed to sales. The influx in demand, however, has come at a time when supply chain delays are plaguing pretty much every product category, including groceries, books, Christmas trees, and toys.

"A lot of factors are at play here, including a shortage of everything from trucks to packing materials, to delivery drivers," says Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at RetailMeNot.

Big-ticket items including furniture "have been delayed for weeks the entire year," she says. "And that will likely not get better during the holidays, when people are out shopping in force." If you order furniture now, expect major delays, she says: "Wait times vary by demand and item, but plan for up to 10 weeks or more. Don't count on furniture arriving before the year is done."

Order now 'if there's something you really want'

Just because it's unlikely that you'll get your furniture before the holidays doesn't mean you should wait to order, says Jamie Katz, an analyst at Morningstar.

"For consumers that are waiting to purchase things until after the holiday season because they think the supply chain may be better, they may be looking at even longer delivery times rather than speedier delivery times," she says. "It might be better to order things earlier rather than later to get in line if there's something you really want."

Don't count on furniture arriving before the year is done.
Kristin McGrath
shopping expert at RetailMeNot

To get around supply chain problems, shop local

One way to circumvent supply chain delays might be to shop local, say McGrath. This could mean a local shop, or asking the local outpost of a bigger chain about floor models.

"If you order an in-stock item from a local store, you might be able to get it delivered more quickly than you would ordering online from a big-box home goods store," she says.

Manage expectations

"Just like anything else, furniture is being severely impacted by shipping delays," says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "When ordering, be sure to check for any kind of noted delays if you're wanting something to serve as a gift, and plan accordingly."

Companies might start using freight shipping, she says, which could increase the cost of online orders. "Don't forget these purchases can also incur freight charges depending on their size, so you may even find yourself paying more to order online versus shopping in-store," she says.

As time goes on, though, companies should gain more clarity about when their products are coming in, says Katz. "What we'll see is as the delivery dates continue to get pushed back and adjusted, companies have better visibility into the timeline to deliver those products," she says. "That's the best-case scenario."

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