Why Australian Made Furniture Costs More Than Imported Furniture – Is Buying Local Worth It?

Furniture shopping is a balancing act. At some point, shoppers need to choose between design, functionality, cost, and, most importantly, durability to defy the years of wear and tear. Durability has always been a stand-out feature for anyone shopping for big-ticket furniture items like sofas, chairs, dining tables, or credenzas.

In the past, these pieces would remain in the family for years, only to be handed down to the next generations as antique heirlooms with plenty of sentimental value. However, modern-day homeowners are increasingly losing their ability to identify the hallmarks of top-quality furniture.

Cost-cutting is prioritized over ensuring that the furniture can withstand the tests of time. The ironic part is that customers don’t have to make such sacrifices while furniture shopping. Spending big once in a while on classic pieces of furniture can save them a lot of money/hassle in the long run.

Plus, finding out which furniture items are high-quality and which ones aren’t, isn’t that difficult. You simply need to look for the “Australian made furniture” logo. To last long, furniture items don’t need to have specific designs; they just need to be well made from high-quality materials. 

Addressing the Cost Myth 

When critics discuss the slightly higher costs of premium-quality Australian-made furniture, they don’t necessarily consider the differences in quality or how overseas manufacturing impacts us and the environment. A $500 imported sofa will look more attractive than a $1200 Australian-made sofa. 

Cheaper options are tempting. But low-cost imported furniture items don’t come with guarantees of quality. Plus, the selling prices don’t reflect the negative social, economic, and environmental detriments that these items indirectly cause. Consumers can’t discover answers to important questions such as: 

  • What manufacturing standards does the foreign furniture manufacturing company follow?
  • Were the materials used to create the furniture ethically sourced? 
  • Was any child labor involved during the manufacture? 

Here are some more harsh truths about low-cost imported furniture. Let’s compare these facts with the details about how Australian furniture is manufactured. Then, the reasons behind the price differences will be clearer. 

Designed for Landfills

Mass-produced, low-cost, imported furniture items are designed to have short life cycles. Offshore sellers can’t set up repair centers of their own, so they have no interest in addressing the many imperfections in the items they sell. Cheap furniture items last for a few months as manufacturers aren’t obligated to follow any quality standards. 

Pretty soon, the intrinsic imperfections become too glaring to avoid, so homeowners have no choice but to get replacements. Most curbside furniture items don’t get recycled. The homeowners typically opt for even cheaper replacements, and the landfills in this throw-away society keep getting bigger. 

Why Australian Made Furniture Items are Different

Australian furniture costs more because these items uphold a certain level of quality. Mass-produced, low-cost, imported furniture items do not always exhibit this quality. 

  • Local furniture makers in Australia are obligated to use high-quality, sustainable, and preferably locally sourced materials because of local rules. 
  • They outlive imported sofas three to four times because their furniture items come with lengthy warranty periods (at least 12 months). 
  • The leading Australian furniture companies are all working towards minimizing the impact that their manufacturing processes may cause. These companies have recycling programs.
  • Local repair and reupholstering experts have partnerships with these companies. When old furniture items are brought in for repairs, these local repair experts can easily access accurate replacement parts. 

To understand how big of a difference these small details make when it comes to the quality of the furniture items, read – The benefits of Australian made furniture.

Designed with Health Risks 

Low-cost, imported furniture items are likelier to contain toxic chemicals. These chemicals are used in both the manufacturing and shipping processes to make these items cheaper and easier to store. Foams, glues, fabrics, and timbers used to manufacture and shop these items are often drenched in chemicals.

For example, the cheapest way to assemble furniture items is using Formaldehyde as an adhesive/fixative. This low-cost chemical is known to cause cancer. It’s released as a colorless gas from furniture items. It stays forever inside imported furniture items, exposing users to the chemical that’s known to cause cancers of the throat and sinuses.

Why Australian Made Furniture Items are Different

  • Many harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including Formaldehyde, Vinyl Acetate, Hexabromocyclododecane, Perfluorooctanoic acid, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, etc., are banned in Australian manufactured goods. 
  • Manufacturers and sellers of Australian-made furniture have to adhere to greenhouse gas emission restrictions, be it during manufacturing or while transporting products within the country.
  • The country also has harsh regulations for timber harvesting. Local furniture manufacturers and their local resource providers aren’t allowed to use harmful pesticides or other chemicals. 

The health risks that low-cost, imported furniture items pose to civilians is featured in – The top 4 reasons why you should be investing in Australian made furniture

Designed to Profit the Middlemen 

It is way cheaper to transport and install Australian-made furniture compared to internationally transported furniture items. Local furniture manufacturers responsibly source their materials from Australian suppliers. Then, they create their pieces in local workshops. The furniture items are then transported to local customers.

On the other hand, when you buy imported furniture, you end up paying a large chunk of your payment to the middlemen, aka the online retailers. To increase profit margins, these retailers buy furniture items from offshore sellers that have – 

  • Frames made of low-quality soft timbers (e.g., pine instead of oak)
  • Poor durability because cheaper items like particleboard are used instead of sturdy plywood. 
  • Imported particleboard contains prohibited carcinogenic glues. 
  • These furniture items require plenty of travel time and therefore plenty of energy resources are required to get them from the foreign production facilities to the Australian store or customer. 
  • Local customers end up paying exorbitantly high delivery costs while purchasing low-quality furniture items that are ridden with health and environmental risks. 

We all know Australian-made furniture costs more. But the reasons behind the slightly high prices are justified. So, buying local furniture isn’t just worth it – it’s by far the best option for furniture shoppers!

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