The ‘fast furniture’ trend is bad news for Mexico’s homeowners

Young shoppers are trending toward cheaper, disposable furniture purchased online. Photo: Courtesy
Young shoppers are trending toward cheaper, disposable furniture purchased online. Photo: Courtesy

The generation with the most spending power is driving a furniture trend that homeowners in Mexico will do well to avoid.

Times they are a changing! For us baby boomers, one of the most important factors we consider when buying furniture is quality. We know that paying a bit more upfront for well-made furniture that will last is the best approach.

Today we see massive growth in the number of Gen Xers, Millennials, and other newer generations. I read an article in Forbes magazine last week that said that Millennials have the most spending power of any current generation. This is changing not only how we buy but also what is available to buy. Their influence is vast.

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When it comes to big-ticket items, younger generations are far more comfortable purchasing online. Since they have grown up with mobile phones, internet, and WIFI, it is not surprising that they prefer this mode of shopping. Saving time, saving money and reducing hassle are some of the benefits they realize by shopping online rather than in a store. Baby Boomers also buy online, but research shows they tend to stick to well-known brand names. Their preference, especially when shopping for big-ticket items, is still to visit a brick-and-mortar store.

Younger generations also tend to shop for a different quality of furniture. Having grown up in a disposable world, they prefer to purchase furniture (and everything else) that is lower in price and replaceable every year. They are far more interested in changing trends. This has spawned a new category called “fast furniture.”

Fast furniture is cheap, flimsy and disposable since manufacturers use materials such as the lowest grades of particle board and glues. Although the furniture may look good, it is not meant to last. In our humid environment in Mexico, furniture made from these materials are far more likely to absorb moisture. As a result, that beautiful dresser is going to expand, bow and be a great place for mold to develop. Low-grade glue means the laminates are unlikely to hold. That will give dreaded termites a way to get into the particle board and use it as their food source.

Many manufacturers of fast furniture also use harsh chemicals like formaldehyde. These materials have the potential to cause serious health problems, both short and long-term. Fast furniture is manufactured rapidly and with little consideration for getting it right. The whole idea is to pump out as many units as possible within a specified time frame. Get it off the production line and get it shipped and sold.

We are seeing more and more manufacturers starting up who cater to this fast furniture trend. And unfortunately, more and more retailers are starting to swap out their quality furniture for low cost, low-quality items.

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That is why it is essential to know what to look for when you are spending your hard- earned money on furniture for your home in Mexico. When you pay for quality, you only cry once!

Buying a new home in Mexico? You could get your furniture for free! Contact me at furniture@solutionsmexico.com.

Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico, an online furniture store and an expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all budgets, in Mexico. 

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