In industry, a furniture market refers to a large exhibition by furniture manufacturers and design companies for other professionals in the furniture trade. A furniture market is a chance for exhibitors to show their wares to potential buyers, who may decide to stock their stores from a variety of manufacturers rather than making all products in house. Large-scale furniture markets also give industry professionals a chance to meet for seminars on product trends, innovations in the field, and market forecasting.
Most furniture markets are primarily designed for industry insiders, rather than the general public. In many cases, admission is free to trade workers, but proof of trade employment is required to obtain a ticket. Furniture markets may last several days or even weeks, depending on the size and scope of the market. Some of the larger trade markets may require multiple show floors and even buildings, and may display the wares of tens of thousands of vendors.
The goal of a furniture market is to set up businesses that are largely concerned with manufacture and production with those primarily interested in resale to the public. Since owning a furniture store doesn't necessarily mean a person can build chairs, these markets can be very important in helping merchants choose wares and product lines that will suit their business. Similarly, a master craftsman may build beautiful tables, but have no idea how to sell or market his products to a wide audience. Furniture markets provide the perfect place for the artisans and the merchants to find one another.
A furniture market can also help establish design trends, much as fashion shows inform people about popular styles for the coming season. Trends may be established by the design side, such as if a significant group of exhibitors all take advantage of a new technology that allows the creation of bamboo-fiber furnishings. Trends can also be established by the demand side; if merchants have noticed a steady upswing in the public demand for retro-style furniture, this may be reflected in their buying habits.
In addition to resale merchants, designers, architects, and interior decorators may all attend a furniture market for inspiration and to make contacts. Design students may sometimes be granted passes, in order to help them learn about how these markets work, as well as to observe current trends. Larger markets often have networks of accommodations, activities, and educational programs for all attendees, in order to help them spend their time at the market most efficiently.