Furniture suppliers in China are carrying out various cost-cutting measures and market repositioning strategies to salvage sluggish exports. These steps, which include adjustments in material sourcing, product construction and manufacturing processes, are also being undertaken to keep price increases at bay amid buyers’ diminishing purchasing power.
Shipments between January and April 2009 showed a significant slowdown compared with the corresponding 2008 levels. The descending trend is observed in both volume and value terms of key categories such as bedroom, dining, office, outdoor and living room furniture.
Nevertheless, most makers in China are optimistic that overseas sales will recover from the recession in 6 to 12 months. In fact, the majority of companies in this report anticipate a revenue growth of more than 20 percent.
The following are some of the key trends we see in the industry:
• Because furniture is a highly aesthetic-driven segment, many China suppliers plan to increase their R&D outlay despite overall budget cutbacks. Collaboration with foreign designers will continue to be prevalent in order to stay on top of the latest global trends.
• Sourcing wood from North America and Russia will be a common practice as the cost of domestic wood remains on the upswing. Currently,about 40 percent of the timber used in the country’s furniture production is purchased abroad.
• More makers will explore alternative export destinations such as Russia, the Middle East, South America and Southeast Asia to bolster sales.
• Current prices are likely to stay the same through the rest of 2009, as most companies adopt a wait and-see approach on the business climate in coming months.
• Better ergonomics and the use of environment-friendly materials willbe the top R&D concerns of most suppliers. Office chairs featuring more adjustable settings and children’s furniture with water-based paint and finishes are examples of these.
The above is extracted from the Executive Summary of China Sourcing Report: Furniture
To learn more about this report, visit: http://www.chinasourcingreports.com/csr/baby-travel-care-products
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