21 May 2019
Mainland Furniture Gets Smarter as Target Buyers Get Notably Younger
With a new generation of consumers now furnishing their homes, the emphasis is very much on modular, intelligent units – from beds and sofas to desks and photo frames – according to exhibitors at the 2019 China International Furniture Fair.
A wide range of smart furniture was on offer at this year's notably competitive China International Furniture Fair (CIFF) (Guangzhou). Typically, many manufacturers had turned to modular designs in order to streamline the process of integrating smart devices, a move seemingly welcomed by the many consumers looking to upgrade and renew their home furnishings. In particular, it is the younger consumer demographic that – according to a number of exhibitors – is now the most demanding when it comes to smart furniture specifications.
This time around, the event was divided into several themed zones, including a high-end custom furniture area, a design trends area, a modern / Nordic area and a contemporary minimalist area. There were also two other areas that seemed to attract particularly heavy footfall – the whole-house customisation and smart furniture zones.
Understandably, given the surge of interest in smart homes across the mainland, many exhibitors were keen to emphasise the 'intelligent' capabilities of their particular furniture items at this year's event. One such company was 37 Degree Smart Home, with the Guangzhou-based business' range of smart furniture extending to sofas, coffee tables, shoe cabinets, wardrobes, dressing tables, desks, children's desks and parent-child dining tables.
Over on the company's stand, it was one particular smart desk that was attracting the attention of the majority of passers-by. This was, perhaps, not all that surprising given the wide range of high-tech functions that had been integrated into the unit, including gesture-controlled height adjustment, smart lighting, infrared sensors, wireless charging and several other functions.
Most of all, though, it seemed to be the gesture-controlled height adjustment facility that was its key selling point. With a sensor located under the right-hand corner of the desk top, users need only place their hand above it and motion downwards to lower the desk height or put their hand below the sensor and push upwards to raise the height. The upward / downward motion then ceases once the hand is removed. The unit also comes fitted with a smart lamp as standard, complete with a brightness sensor and a base that doubles as a wireless charger.
Keen to emphasise the flexibility of the company's range, Marketing Manager Ma Min'er said: "All of our smart-home products are modularly designed, with their smart hardware able to be seamlessly integrated with a wide range of home-furnishing products, which offers the choice of a considerable number of flexible combinations."
According to Ma, apart from smart desks, a number of the company's other products have also been particularly well-received, including its selection of intelligent sofas. Produced under the company's proprietary 37 Degree brand, these include temperature adjustment options, exercise reminders, lighting sensors and wireless charging. The built-in smart temperature control can warm up the seats relative to the ambient room temperature, while the sofa's built-in pressure sensors start vibrating when someone has been sprawled out on it for an unhealthy period.
A little more forgiving are the company's smart beds, which collect health data during the night and monitor sleep quality using non-sensory detection means. This sees traditional wearable sensors replaced by high-precision acceleration transducers, which can detect nocturnal movements and automatically activate a nightlight. The built-in sleep monitoring function, meanwhile, can track the condition and quality of sleep and upload a detailed report to a linked smartphone app.
Clearly seeing the smart furniture market as having considerable potential, Ma said: "This new generation is very open to smart products, particularly if – like ours – they incorporate avant-garde designs and intuitive interfaces. Our use of modular design throughout also maximises upgradability."
From smart beds to smart bedside ornamentation, Shanghai-based iOart opted to highlight its iFrame smart photo frame at this year's event. Providing a quick introduction to its key selling points, Marketing Manager He Yan said: "The frame's 4K high-definition IPS display faithfully recreates the natural picture quality and texture of the original photo, while three recessed sensors allow for the picture to be changed or background information to be displayed at the wave of a hand.
"While the product was originally designed for use in bedrooms, studies or offices, it has subsequently found applications elsewhere. A number of museums and art galleries, for instance, now use our frame for displaying high-quality digital reproduction of famous artworks."
The 2019 China International Furniture Fair (CIFF) (Guangzhou) was held at the China Import and Export Fair Complex in Guangzhou on 18-21 March (first phase) and 28-31 March (second phase) and attracted 4,344 exhibitors.
Xiao Ming, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou
Related article: "Aesthetics and Quality Prioritised in Booming China Furniture Market"