Wooden furniture: great export potential
Pakistan's leading furniture manufacturers participated in an international fair held in Birmingham, to explore more avenues for promoting their exports to the UK, which was currently 3.6 million sterling pounds.
The participation of many furniture-manufacturing firms across the country was organised by the Export Promotion Bureau, through the Pakistani High Commission in London, to enable the businessmen to find ways to push up their exports in Britain.
This fair was held from January 20-23, 2002. Many big firms from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Malaysia and Indonesia participated in it.
The export of wooden furniture from Pakistan has jumped by130 per cent during the last five years, rising from a modest $ 1.89 million during1996-97 to $ 4.34 million in 2000-2001; this phenomenal rise in furniture export is due to effective marketing by Pakistani exporters in the recent years.
The value of furniture export is very nominal, but a beginning has been made and with aggressive marketing strategy, the value of exports can further be increased in a short span.
The total world trade in furniture is estimated at $ 23.2 billion, of which, wooden furniture acquired a share of $ 17.7 billion or 77 per cent, followed by metal furniture with $ 4.02 billon or17 per cent and plastic furniture $ 1.44 billion or 6 per cent. The United States is the leading importer of furniture, followed by Germany and France, while Italy is the major exporter followed by Germany and Canada. Pakistan's share in the total world market is quite negligible, and there are bright prospects for increasing this share.
The major buyers of the Pakistani furniture are the UK, USA, Sri Lanka, the Gulf countries like Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, etc.
The United States is the sole buyer of the Pakistani bedroom furniture, while the UK and Gulf countries import kitchen and office furniture from Pakistan.
Recently, a leading retail chain in the United Kingdom has indicated keen interest in the Pakistani wooden furniture, and the top executive of this chain is planning to hold a show of the Pakistani furniture in Great Britain.
Another leading British retail chain, the Harrods is already selling the Pakistani wooden furniture at its outlets. However, there is a need to further explore the international market for boosting exports, as there is a lot of potential for increasing the market for the Pakistani furniture.