Why is it That Most Sofas do Not Last Longer Than 5 Years?

by | Sep 15, 2021 | Ask the Expert | 0 comments

Question:

Do sofa companies deliberately make furniture so that it falls apart quickly and parts cannot be repaired or replaced?

Dec. 19, 2020

 Answer:

15 years ago people expected their new sofas to last 8 – 10 years, according to an industry survey.

Sofa prices have not changed very much since that time. But the average sofa lifespan has been reduced to 3 – 5 years.

Price is the primary factor for most people in determining what furniture they will buy. This has resulted in cutthroat price competition among the major retailers.

  • Fewer than 50 large retailers account for most U.S. furniture sales.
  • These mega-retailers have tremendous power to dictate pricing to thor suppliers.
  • Competition drives many furniture manufacturers to emphasize the outward appearance of new sofas.
  •  Cost reductions are made on internal components that cannot be seen or felt, but affect overall quality and strength.

Most people seem to think that a sofa’s frame and foundation determine its durability. But those parts rarely limit the useful life of a sofa.

  • Low cost sofa frames and foundations usually last 10 or more years with normal use.
  • Many low priced fabrics (priced to manufacturers at $5/yd. or less) are extremely durable. With periodic cleaning and maintenance they can last 10 years or more.

Cushions are the component that most often limits a sofa’s lifespan.

Budget and mid-priced sofas are usually sold with standard 1.8 density foam cushions.

  • 1.8 density foam cushions have an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years before losing their resiliency (ability to bounce back.)
  • Once that occurs, the cushions flatten out and are no longer comfortable.
  • Very few consumers replace worn out cushions.

Better quality (higher density) foam can last more than twice as long.

  • Upgrading to 2.5 density foam more than doubles the cushion’s lifespan.
  • The extra cost is around $5 per cushion (at the manufacturing level.)
  • This translates to a $20 increase at retail.

Reclining sofas cost more and have an even shorter lifespan.

  • Most popularly priced reclining furniture is made with non-removable seat cushions.
  • Reclining seats wear out more quickly due to added friction when in use.
  • Frames are less sturdy than standard sofa frames, while supporting far more weight.

Leather sofas can be especially wasteful.

  • Real leather can last 20 years or more (and add several hundred dollars to a sofa’s cost.)
  • Leather does nothing to improve the sofa’s overall lifespan if it has the standard 1.8 density cushions that wear out after 3 – 5 years.

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Jeff Frank

Jeff Frank

Furniture Consultant

Jeff Frank is a 45 year  furniture industry veteran. He created this blog to provide detailed facts, inside information & advice for furniture shoppers. 

 

 

 

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