A LOCAL furniture support organization has launched its first marketing platform specifically tailored for the domestic furniture and furnishings market.
At a press conference last Tuesday, the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation, Inc. (CFIF) announced that it will host TUBOD: The Philippines’ Ultimate Domestic Furniture Trade Show, on June 6 to 8 in the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Cebu City, together with the 24th Visayas PhilConstruct Show.
Both events will take place within the Cebu Business Month celebrated by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).
First of its kind
Dubbed as a “show within a show” by designers, for designers and by trade for trade players, the three-day exhibit will be participated in by 40 furniture and furnishings manufacturers.
Tubod is being pitched as the first and only trade show of its kind in the country, where designers and builders can interact on sourcing export quality and fit-out products for the local market.
CFIF president Angela Figueroa-Paulin said it was high time to focus on the local scene, since there is minimal movement in the global market caused by a series of unfavorable economic, political and natural episodes such as calamities and recession in the United States and Europe.
CFIF chairperson for market development committee Christina Marie Gaston mentioned that the rationale behind Tubod is to set the industry in motion to serve a dynamic and booming domestic furniture and furnishings market, which is currently valued at $647 million.
As the furniture and furnishings arena is powered by the export industry, Gaston disclosed that most of the exhibitors are exporters.
As a government effort in supporting CFIF’s move to pitch the local furniture and furnishings market, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Provincial Director Nelia Navarro cited that the furniture industry is already included among DTI’s priority clusters.
Referring to its partnership with a German international corporation, Navarro said DTI was able to score assistance for planned workshops and other initiatives in addressing the domestic market.
She noted that the department is evaluating a proposal from the furniture sector for a shared service facility, which has a budget of P70 million.
Navarro continued that of the estimated P52 billion spent for the construction of medium and high-rise developments like buildings, resorts and hotels, the demand for furniture from this sector is about P200 million.
Commending the country for bagging its first investment grade credit rating, PhilConstruct Events, Exhibition and Conference Corp. (PCEECC) president Augusto Manalo is also confident of the potential of the local market.
Seeing a sustained and robust Philippine construction sector at least five years from now, Manalo opined that the furniture sector can take advantage of such an industry, of which the value has grown by almost 20 percent, from P300 billion to P400 billion in 2011 to 2012.
Describing Filipino creativity as unrivaled, Manalo highlighted that the Philippines should translate Filipino talent into significant and world-class achievements.
He added that the challenge is to reinvent strategies, such as concentrating on technology and large-scale developments, now that the country faces stiff competition from China and Malaysia.
“The world believes in Filipinos. It’s our turn to start believing in ourselves. Asia is now the market,” PCEECC general manager Manolito Madrasto said.
Madrasto said the Philippine furniture sector is known for exporting accent pieces.
However, accent pieces do well only if the global economy is good. Since the latter is currently challenged, Madrasto suggested that the country shift its focus to the domestic market, which only has a 20 percent share against the 80 percent coming from overseas.
CFIF data showed that as of November 2012, the Philippine furniture and furnishings export performance registered at $145 million and $25 million, respectively. Imports as of October 2012 were at $105.5 million and $42.3 million, respectively.
The information revealed that as of November last year, the US, Indonesia and Japan were the top three export markets of Philippine furniture, which logged $93.2 million collectively.
With Cebu as a superior contributor, the Philippines ranks among the top 10 import source countries of the US, with 70 percent of Philippine furniture outputs exported to the US and the remaining 30 percent distributed to Europe, Middle East and Asia.