Urbanization fuels high demand for furniture

Business.(Business File photo)

DEMAND for industry-specific furniture and furnishings is poised for continued growth this year, buoyed by the sustained expansion of the country’s economy, according to a furniture show.

During its recent roadshow in Cebu, the Philippine Furniture Furnishings Market (PFFM) said the growth of crucial sectors such as tourism, real estate, information technology and business process management and business services/offices is fueling the demand in the furniture and furnishing markets.

In 2023 alone, the country’s furniture market logged US$780.20 million in revenues.

“Urbanization fuels high demand for furniture in residential, hotel, office and industrial sectors,” the PFFM said.

Real estate and tourism, two of the country’s largest industries, are expected to drive significant momentum in the furniture and furnishing markets, following their respective contributions estimated at approximately P563 billion and P4 trillion in 2022.

Derrisen Sdn Bhd., the organizer of the PFFM, recently mounted a roadshow in Cebu on March 13, 2024, to invite industry stakeholders here to join the second run of the PFFM on July 4 to 6 at the SMX Convention Center Manila, Pasay City.

Through its Hosted Buyers Program, individuals representing relevant industries will get the opportunity to connect with leading suppliers and explore potential business collaborations. Hosted buyers will have access to exclusive networking opportunities and pre-arranged business meetings with participating furniture and furnishings suppliers.

The Cebu roadshow brought together key players from the furniture industry and affiliated sectors to discuss Cebu’s business landscape, the Philippine housing sector, the tourism and hotel industry and design and furniture trends.

“We are excited to bring a taste of PFFM to Cebu and provide industry professionals with a platform to engage with the latest innovations in the furniture and furnishings industry,” said Vicky Tan, project director of Derrisen Sdn Bhd.

This year’s PFFM will have 150 exhibiting companies from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Europe.

Exhibitors will showcase the latest innovations in home furniture, outdoor furniture, office and commercial furniture, home décor and lifestyle products, offering attendees a comprehensive overview of the industry’s latest offerings.

Besides the Hosted Buyer’s Program, other event highlights include networking, furniture showcase and market-related seminars.

The Philippines imports furniture and furnishings from China, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Italy, Hong Kong and the USA.

Outlook, local demand

Meanwhile, the Philippine furniture industry forecasts 20 percent sales growth in 2024 to meet the demands of overseas markets for Filipino-made furnishings.

Myrna Bituin, a trustee for the furniture sector at the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), was quoted in a report as saying that “buyers are coming in again and visiting the Philippines.”

Philexport is the umbrella organization of the country’s export sectors.

The Philippines exports furniture to the US, United Kingdom and Arabian countries as well as Dubai.

Furniture and fixtures made up P308 million of the country’s exports in 2022, according to the Department of Trade and Industry - Export Marketing Bureau.

In an earlier interview, internationally acclaimed Cebuano furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue said he has allocated 30 percent of his furniture production to the domestic market, attributing this shift to the improving economic conditions of the local market.

The boom in the real estate market, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, has been helping the furniture and furnishings sector thrive. In Cebu, even high-rise towers, spanning residential, office and hotels, have been carrying export-quality pieces including that of Cobonpue as a strategy to pique buyers’ interest.

“The furniture market has been doing good because the local market has improved. The export market still has a huge share but I think that will change in the future because our economy is growing,” said Cobonpue.

Cobonpue’s local market share of production has reached a substantial 30 percent.

“During the pandemic, our sales grew more than the previous years because people were building second homes. There was no travel, no fashion, there was no competition as people were just in their homes,” he said. “But now it has plateaued, because people are now spending on other things.”

Despite experiencing flat sales in the local market following the pandemic, Cobonpue noted that the demand among Filipinos for owning export-quality furniture pieces has grown.

Real estate developers who incorporate export-quality pieces into their projects have made them their distinctive edge and unique selling points.

“There’s an appreciation for things made by Filipinos,”

said Cobonpue.

He noted that this development holds promise for the local manufacturing industry as it indicates increased investments and job creation.

“This appreciation gives employment to many Filipinos,” he said. / KOC


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