Furniture exporters need to tap the domestic market

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CEBU, Philippines – Although Cebu’s furniture industry is export-driven, it’s time for manufacturers to venture in the domestic market with its foreseen potential for stability, a furniture consultant said. Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF) consultant Ruby Salutan said that even if the industrial business focuses on the export market which lacks stability, the domestic market potential of the country is at large.

Not just responsible in the economic development of the province, she added that the Cebu furniture industry plays a vital role in positioning the country as the choice in the export furniture market. Given the fact that the industry contributes about 47% to the country’s export furniture business, she said that its manufacturers comprise only 20% of the population of furniture manufacturers in the country.

Salutan added that with its innovative designs, high quality, trend and fashionable furniture lines, Cebu has been undoubtedly dubbed as the “furniture capital of the Philippines”.

However, she said that industry players have to explore the advantages of the domestic furniture market with a notable growth in the country’s construction, tourism and real estate industries since there is a lack of stability in the export market.

“The point is to be able to open their doors to the domestic market that is still untapped. If they are able to do that, they would be in a better position to survive in the crisis,” she stated in a personal interview.

Salutan explained that the increasing population and tourism industry of the Philippines created sizeable investment of about P52.8 billion annually in the construction business.

According to the domestic market study commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German development agency for CFIF and Cebu GTH, an increase in the construction business in the Philippines of 11.6% in year 2011 presents potential market prospect for Cebu manufacturers.

Records also show that the medium and high-end real estate industry demands an annual estimate for furniture and furnishings of about P358.32 million.

Moreover, the total Philippine furniture production was placed at a value of US $874 million in the year 2009. Only 25% of which was exported with a value of US$227 million while the 75% was sold domestically with a value of US$ 647 million.

Salutan then concluded that such statistics significantly shows the huge potential of the domestic furniture and furnishing business in response to the country’s demand.

Crafting out a roadmap for the domestic market on May 10 along with GIZ and the Department of Trade and Industry, she also said that the best thing to do for now is to encourage more players to take advantage of such potential. (FREEMAN)

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