Turning inward pays off

THE flourishing domestic market remains a strong revenue source for local furniture players, a consultant of a furniture organization said.

Although business is not as lively as it was before, Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc. (CFIF) consultant Ruby Salutan said furniture exporters in Cebu have found their niche in the vibrant local market.

She said the industry enjoys support from the strong domestic business scene.

“The domestic market continues to sustain the industry,” said Salutan.

For instance, the popping up of real estate developments such as condominiums and hotels across the country continues to give business to the furniture manufacturers while they continue to seize opportunities overseas.

Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) Myrna Bituin, in an interview with Philexport News, said furniture players continue to tap the local market as it is registering higher growths than the export market.

“Compared with a few years ago, the local (market is) 100 percent more... Look at the developments, these are all over the country,” said Bituin, adding that “hotels that are now coming, they are now locally produced.”

To seize the business opportunities offered by the domestic market, Bituin said the industry is working with designers and property developers to assure them the sector can meet their requirements.

The Philippine furniture industry is attempting to grow export revenues by 15 percent this year.

While they are tapping the strong domestic market, furniture players are also intensifying export promotion and other marketing programs to boost overseas presence.

Bituin said it is important for the sector to join international shows and that the government has to support the presence of Philippine exporters in international markets.

The Middle East and the United States are still the biggest markets for Philippine-made furniture.

“(In the first quarter), there were companies that were very busy. The Middle East market has continued to support, came to the Philippines to buy...Even some American companies have slowly come back,” said Bituin.

Woodcrafts and furniture contributed a 5.4 percent share to the country’s total export receipts, recording sales of $250.89 million in December 2015. It registered 24.1 percent growth from the previous year’s $202.16 million in sales.

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