Vietnamese Furniture Makes a Comeback in the Global Market
Nguyen Quoc Khanh, the chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA), emphasized the need for businesses to reassess their product lines to revive Vietnam’s wooden furniture export market. Recent months have shown an increase in home purchases, renovations, and repairs in major import markets like the United States and the European Union, indicating a growing demand for interior and exterior wooden products. However, HAWA data reveals that timber processing companies experienced a 30% decline in orders during the first half of 2023.
Export sales at Thien Minh Trade Co., Ltd. have also slowed, as reported by Vice President Tran Lam Son. However, he mentioned that they have received orders from the German and Dutch markets, and their US associates have seen a depletion of stocks as consumers resume shopping. Son noted changes in consumer purchasing decisions, with lower order quantities and shorter delivery times of 45-60 days compared to the previous 70-90 days. European buyers now prioritize product origin, while Americans prefer plantation-sourced products priced between $300 and $750.
Despite the challenges, Vietnam’s timber processing industry can still regain its position in the global market by exploring opportunities in new markets. Tran Nhu Trang, a representative of the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), encourages businesses to target markets such as Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, India, and the Middle East. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in particular, have shown an annual furniture demand growth rate exceeding 45%. Vietnamese furniture has gained consumer interest, with exports to the UAE surpassing $11 million in the first four months of the year, a 38% increase from the same period in 2022.
Trang emphasizes the need for the industry to restructure its product segment to cater to the specific requirements of each market. Market demand is shifting towards furniture made with innovative wood materials, such as engineered wood (3D-printed wood), and timber that can be fully traced. The industry has faced challenges in recent years, with factories reducing capacity and labor, leading to business closures and debt repayment.
According to the General Statistics Office, the export value of timber and wooden products in the first half of 2023 is estimated at $6 billion, representing a decline of 28.8% compared to the same period in 2022.