by | Apr 11, 2021

I offer a word of caution for those
planning to purchase furniture for their home in Puerto Vallarta. The furniture industry is amid a global foam
shortage. Foam is an essential material
used in the manufacture of sofas, sectionals and chairs, car seats, appliances,
and even shoes.

When and how did this shortage occur? In November 2020, furniture manufacturers
started to experience a severe reduction in foam and poly/pad supplies. This shortage was due mainly to last spring’s
COVID-19 shut down of foam manufacturing plants. Even after these foam manufacturers reopened,
most operated and continue to produce at one-third their standard
capacity. This reduction in production
is due to COVID health and safety protocols.

Another impact causing a global shortage of
foam comes from the shipping industry.
When COVID-19 shut down manufacturing plants and suppliers, it also
resulted in a reduction in the number of shipping vessels at sea. Those shipping vessels also faced a massive
backlog once they hit port due to reduction in workers to offload containers. The congestion of containers at North
American ports is even causing significant delays since there are fewer customs
and imports officers. Experts predict
that this disruption will continue throughout the rest of 2021 and into
2022.As if this is not enough, yet another issue
adding to the shortage of foam is the current unbalance of shipping containers
in the world. North America currently
faces a 40% imbalance. For every 100
containers that arrive at North American ports, only 40 are exported. This disparity means fewer shipping
containers are available to bring raw goods and manufactured products such as
foam through the China: USA trade route.

Then came last month’s spate of severe
winter weather in the South and Northeast.
Most of the companies that produce the chemicals required for foam are
in Texas and Louisiana. The storms and
cold weather shut down the export and transport overseas to manufacturers of

The problem is further exacerbated due to
increase in demand for foam. With more
people working from home and not traveling, the North American furniture
industry has seen an unprecedented boom in demand. Everyone wants new furniture. Warehouses and retail floors are empty. Delivery dates are delayed by an average of
six months with no guarantee of delivery date provided. Stimulus cheques by governments in the United
States and Canada are expected to create even more demand for furniture while
supply dwindles.

The bottom line is that you cannot build
furniture such as sofas and sectionals if you cannot get foam. Manufacturers who take pride in their
products are working to find alternative sources, reduce their production
schedule, and delay delivery dates. They
know that the proper foam is critical to ensure the comfort and lifespan of a
sofa. The best manufacturer of
upholstered furniture (sofas, sectionals, sofa beds, and recliners) in Mexico
is Palliser ( They are
working hard to reduce production timelines while ensuring they continue to
build their furniture with the proper foam.Unfortunately, many sofa manufacturers will
need to settle for whatever foam is available to continue production and stay
in business. This increase in
low-quality foam on the market means that consumers need to be even more
cautious when purchasing sofas, sectionals, and chairs. Since foam in a cushion is a critical factor in
determining comfort and lifespan, buying furniture without knowing which foam
it was made means it is even more likely you will be replacing it in two to
three years.

In next week’s column, I will review the
different types of foam on the market and share which one will ensure your sofa
will be comfortable for twenty years!

If you need any furniture and want to
purchase it right the first time, please let us help. Our store, SOLutions Mexico, is located at
363A Constitucion just off Basilio Badillo and open 10 am to 4 pm Monday
through Friday. You can also email me at or visit our website at

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