Philippine Furniture sector seen to grow by 15% in 2012

Furniture makers are optimistic on achieving a 15-percent growth in 2012 from the expected flat revenues this year, as the huge local market continues to make up for the lower export sales.

“I think the domestic market will be much, much better than the export (market). With more than a hundred hotels now being built, even the local market is a big market,” said Myrna Bituin, PHILEXPORT trustee for the furniture sector.

She said exporters are now tapping only 30 percent of the local market. They target to double this in an effort to capture 60 percent of the market.

To achieve this goal, Bituin said companies based in Cebu, Pampanga and Manila have forged a partnership with the Philippine construction group that includes the hotels and condominiums.

The cooperation involves implementing measures how these firms meet the furniture needs of the sector.

“They even toured the exporters to the (construction) sites. It is important for us to partner with one another,” she said.

To boost export revenues, Bituin believes that there is a business opportunity in tapping new markets, including Asia particularly China, as well as India and Russia.

“China is a market that we should not be afraid; we should look at it as an opportunity. Just like us, they also want to buy imported (products). But for me, I would always look into products that they do not touch. These are the high-end one and carved items,” she said.

Likewise, Bituin said furniture makers should continue working on the high-end market.

She said they also now implement branding programs, improve the value chain and undertake product development.

“Pampanga, Cebu and national (chapters) are all involved in product development in different aspects. Cebu is actively looking into different alternative materials; Pampanga is working on woven bamboo and has launched a design competition; while the national has also its own design competition and is going into green and alternative materials,” Bituin further said.

Source: PHILEXPORT — Danielle Venz, PHILEXPORT News and Features

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