A study by KResearch asserts that the Thai furniture and part industry will be up against encumbrances unfavorable to its export outlook this year, e.g., competitiveness, higher labor and material costs, trade barriers– especially trade regulations in our export destinations, and THB appreciation versus rival currencies. Even so, the industry may be able to continue to sustain growth.
We forecast that the export value of Thai furniture/parts to global markets will amount to approximately USD1.2-1.25 billion, representing growth of 0.0-4.0 percent, versus a 3.1-percent contraction last year. The better prospects expected this year are based on stronger purchasing power in such key markets as the US, which has resumed growth since last year. Also, demand from ASEAN and new partners, e.g., China and India, has been promising, due to urbanization that has boosted real estate and hospitality sectors and could thus push Thai furniture shipments into expansion.
G3 nations (the US, EU and Japan) remain primary markets contributing significantly to our 2015 furniture exports. Demand may be high for wood furniture with good design and functionality. Meanwhile, emerging markets deserving special attention include ASEAN, China and India where rising middle-class populations have prompted higher demand for home furniture as they are now living in urban environments.
In recent years, we have witnessed furniture operators adjusting to remain in business, but only a handful has succeeded, since most operators find it difficult to avoid price competition. Considering this, manufacturers and merchants should strengthen their business structure to stay viable. They may put more emphasis on designs, analyses of consumer trends and improved products to best serve customer needs. Modern marketing channels may also come into play, thanks to their capacity to offer market access specific to targeted segments. In taking such proactive steps, furniture companies should be able to increase their competitiveness and returns, ultimately helping them to stay afloat and survive hard times.