FURNITURE exporter Hein Chrispijn is banking on the continued expansion of the domestic market to grow his furniture business.

Sixty to 65 percent of furniture sales of Metamorfose Philippines Inc. come from the local market, particularly in the growing resort, hotel, bars and residential developments in the country.

“Business is growing. Last year, we grew by 24 percent and we target to grow a little higher than that this year,” said Chrispijn, president of Metamorfose, in an interview yesterday.

While he admitted experiencing difficult times in the business, he realized the importance of the local market in keeping the furniture industry afloat.

“The ongoing developments here, from resorts to malls to residential, are giving us opportunities to sell to the local market while we continue to serve the demand of our foreign clients,” Chrispijn said. “As a player, we have always remained active and are always on the lookout for new markets.”

He cited the opening of new malls like the SM Seaside City and Robinsons Galleria Cebu as new markets for the furniture industry.

“We are inviting the tenants of these two new malls like restaurant and bar owners to come to our showroom and see our furniture,” said Chrispijn.

Metamorfose Philippines Inc. manufactures and exports outdoor and indoor furniture and home accessories. The firm maintains a 3,000-square meter showroom in Buaya, Lapu-Lapu City and a factory of about the same size in Consolacion.

At present, the firm is improving some parts of the Lapu-Lapu showroom putting in place new designs that would complement the existing and new outdoor furniture collection. The improved showroom is expected to be fully completed by end of the year.

“We are making the showroom more beautiful so that when clients come here, they would see how these furniture will look like when placed in various locations like pools, bars, and restaurants,” he said. He feels that the quality of their furniture coupled with constant innovation has kept them relevant in the furniture industry.

The United States and Europe are two of the key markets of Philippine furniture exports. But since the 2008 global economic crisis, furniture players were urged to turn to the local market like resorts, restaurants and hotels while economies of US and Europe were recovering. There are also market opportunities for Philippine furniture exports around Asia, the Middle East and South Africa.

“While the global market is still fragile, the local market, on the other hand, is very promising. The continued expansion of the middle class is something that cannot be overlooked,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 Director Asteria Caberte in a separate interview.

Earlier, European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) executive vice president for external affairs, Henry Schumacher said the export sector, particularly furniture and home furnishing makers, should boost their presence and marketability in its “home ground” while the domestic market is showing more interest in their products as compared to imported goods.

At the start of the year, the local furniture industry projected a 25 percent growth in revenues, citing demand from the domestic market as well as recovery in key export markets.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show woodcrafts and furniture recorded as the country’s fourth top export. It logged revenue valued at $210.85 million or 4.8 percent share to the country’s total exports as of April this year. It contracted by 23.9 percent from $277.15 million in same period of 2014.