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CFIF official: Find right market, innovate, explore tieups

By: Dominic D. Yasay November 20,2016 - 08:05 PM

FOR furniture manufacturers to stay afloat in the industry despite the constant shift in the global demand, they should look into penetrating the right market in which they are relevant while continuously innovating their products.

Christina Marie Gaston, Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation, Inc. (CFIF) vice president for marketing, gave this advice to furniture manufacturers, designers and exporters who intend to remain and even those who managed to survive in the industry.

“The world has changed. It’s not a matter of the furniture not being valuable. There was a market crash. And needs, generations, and the lifestyle of people have changed. The companies that are still here are the ones who still have access to markets and respond to market needs,” said Gaston.

Decline in demand

Over the past two years, the country’s furniture sector has been reportedly affected by the decline in the demand of export products which resulted to some furniture manufacturers closing down.

According to the records of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the woodcraft and furniture were among the export commodities that suffered a decline posting a loss of 24.2 percent falling second to machinery and equipment which registered a loss of 35.8 percent.

New markets

Although this was the case, Gaston reiterated that the industry players can still recover from this loss if they continue to explore new market segments and offer products that appeal more to the taste and needs of that market.

“If you’re able to distribute and communicate to new market, respond to different behavior and if you’re proactive, you will survive. Cebu itself has so much value: in design, production, capacity and styling. It’s just a matter of finding the market and supplying this market,” Gaston said.

For an industry that largely relies on the lifestyle and personal inclinations of its buyers, one innovation that furniture manufacturers and designers can explore is producing custom-made products which is already becoming a trend nowadays, said Gaston.

“The market now wants custom-made products. People now value individuality and self-expression. We have the capacity to customize. (We can focus more on the) production of smaller batches but with high quality,” she said.


Gaston said forging partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Holistic Coalition of the Willing (HoliCOW), a group of shakers and movers of the furniture industry in Visayas, can also help propel the industry forward by linking furniture manufacturers to other industries like the real estate since housing units need designs and furnishings.

Last November 19 and 20, HoliCOW and 32 Sanson by Rockwell held a space-making event called “HIMÔ,” which highlights locally-made and sustainable furniture, accessories and home decor items that give life to home space. The event had also become a platform for local products to reach a wider market.

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TAGS: Cebu, export, exporters, furniture, Philippine Statistics Authority

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