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What kind of furniture should I buy in China

The main goal of going to China for furniture sourcing is to save money. Doesn’t matter if your budget is low or almost unlimited, everybody wants furniture cheaper than back home. Which items profitable to buy in China? Is there a minimum amount of money worth spending to make the trip worthy? Why is it worth to go so far in order to save money?

Is everything cheaper in China?

Before going to source furniture in China, you should answer a question: what do I want to buy? Will it be furniture or also sanitary ware, ceramics, doors, flooring, decorations, lighting, kitchen, wardrobe… Not all these items are cheaper in China. It is usually much more reasonable to buy finishing materials like cement, plaster, glue, paints in a local shop. The difference in price is not very big but the delivery from China might be costly. You can also check what local manufacturers you have around. For example, if there is a local porcelain factory, the price for some items can be actually better than in China. But again, depends on the quality you’re going for. And don’t forget that our managers can make an estimated quote for any item in your design-project.

How much money for furniture should I take with me?

There are some customers who are planning to come to China to buy only a few items for a living room or only a kitchen. Of course, it’s possible to buy a luxury high-quality sofa or a kitchen made of the best materials but sooner or later delivery question will hit you. Shipping a container with one sofa or a kitchen is very expensive. So you’ll have to use cargo service. Shipping with cargo is not the best choice because it’s quite expensive. The fee for cargo is calculated according to the weight and the volume of the goods. Based on our experience, 30 000$ is needed to fill a 20 ft container with mid-high quality furniture, bigger projects might require 40 feet container.

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High-end furniture made-in-China (no kidding)

The next question is: what quality do you need?

Among the 5000 furniture factories in Foshan, there are many suppliers who strive to make their goods cheaper by all means. Low price is very attractive but it does affect the quality of the goods. However, a lot of companies are trying to be at the same level as the quality of famous American and European brands. There are a lot of replicas in the markets. Some factories even manage to not only create exact replicas but also to surpass the quality of the original. The production of such furniture is carried out by highly qualified specialists using best imported materials and equipment. Furniture of this quality isn’t cheap but still much more affordable than in Europe (for the same quality). Even in the middle price segment for the money that customers spend in their countries, it’s possible to buy furniture of much better quality in China. In general, this is our advice: don’t try to chase the lowest price. Buying furniture is a long-term investment and requires to be rational. It’s a kind of investment. High-quality furniture will last longer, and in a long term perspective, it will cost less than a low-quality one that will have to be changed in 2-3 years.

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Shopping in China: the more expensive the goods, the more you save

It might sound ridiculous at first. How is it possible to save money while spending more? It's all about the specifics of the international furniture business. Buying cheap furniture in China, wholesale companies get a good discount on it due to the large volumes (we’re talking about one-two models of same-sized items in many containers quantity). Wholesalers are sure that cheap furniture will always be in demand. A usual customer will not be able to get such a big wholesale discount on cheap goods in China. And adding transportation and customs fees to the price, it’s cheaper to buy such furniture in your country than in China. Things are quite different from expensive furniture. First, not all wholesalers are ready to invest in goods that are not in demand. That’s why it is usually difficult to find good quality furniture at a decent price. Second, high-quality furniture made of expensive quality materials has a higher value, so resellers put a very large margin on such goods. Therefore, the more expensive goods a customer buys in China, the more money he/she saves compared to the same goods back home.

China is a heaven for customising

Working directly with manufacturers, in addition to favourable prices, there is a great opportunity to change the specifications according to your own liking and requirements. You like a corner-table but you want to make it a bit longer? - Sure! Don’t like the colour of cushions or an armchair? - Change it as you like! Customization helps not only to make visual changes but also helps to save money. For example, the customer likes the sofa fully made of leather but its a bit pricy. In this case, a manufacturer can replace the real leather on the back and sides of the sofa with artificial leather. So the price becomes more appealing, and touch feel remains the same.

A miser pays twice in China

No matter, how super-attractive the price is, later it will rise because of logistic service and customs fees. In most countries, it is calculated based on the invoice amount and other fees that certain countries have. The fee can depend on the type of imported furniture, the country, and even the port. Check advance with local customs brokers about fee, VATs and the taxes for your order. Please keep in mind, no broker can tell exact or even approximately quote the fees for customs clearance without an actual order (!). They still can consult you and tell the items that might just not be the best to bring into the country because of the high taxes. One of the main payments during customs clearance is a percentage from the invoice amount. Chinese factories are always happy to make it looks less than actual for you to pay less when going through customs in the country of delivery.

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Lighting is the best purchase in China

China is the best place to buy lighting as here is situated a lighting capital - Guzhen city which we have already written about in our blog. If Foshan is full of endless showrooms with furniture of all possible styles, Guzhen is a whole city for any lighting you can wish for - from classical chandeliers to queer designer lamps, lighting for your own house, for a hotel or for outdoors. Here are also replicas of floor light, wall light, chandeliers and other items of famous European brands. Showrooms provide a lot of options for customization. If you have a free day, and you would like to choose some lighting items, then the best choice is a trip to the capital of lighting - Guzhen.

Not all the items are profitable to buy in China. It's definitely better to buy middle- or high- quality items than the ones of low price. Based on our experience, the average budget for sourcing furniture in China is about 30 000$. For this money, it is possible to buy good-quality furniture, lighting, finishing materials and load a container in order to deliver goods as safe and efficient as possible. Of course, the budget depends on the project, that’s why before making a decision about going to China, we recommend leaving a request on our website for an estimated quote of the design project.