The Philippine furniture industry aims to be the global design innovator or hub for products using sustainable materials by 2030, with thriving domestic and international markets and a competitive and motivated labor force.
To achieve this, the industry shall focus its programs on four (4) key development factors: 1) product development, 2) marketing, 3) capacity building and 4) advocacy. Under product development, the goal is to have access to markets with the government support to institutionalize a budget for trends gathering, forecasting and sharing; upgrade design education through early introduction of design awareness appreciation and information and training assistance for design students and professional designers and manufacturers; and establish sustainable and environment-friendly raw materials and establish supply hubs for semi process and raw materials from local and imported sources. Under advocacy, the objective is to build the group to be a strong force with a unified voice, strongly influence all appropriate sectors, and build support infrastructure to continue the gains. Under marketing, the targets are to make the Philippine furniture top of mind in Asia, to sell to traditional markets, and simplify marketing strategy to align furniture design to customer needs in local, glocal and global markets. Under capacity-building, the industry seeks to have a sustainable supply of raw materials; provide readily available skilled manpower to the industry; and to ensure availability of advanced and cost-effective machineries / equipment and production processes.
Towards the above goals, the industry intends to intensify promotions in non-traditional markets; establish links with foreign posts to address immediate buyer inquiries and seek their assistance to promote the industry abroad; organize focused offshore business matching programs; intensify product development programs to cover material manipulation, library of material sources, and development of design collections; implement continuous skills training; establish regional development programs to expand the subcontractor base of manufacturers; establish furniture quality standards; and institutionalize management education programs by linking design and manufacturing courses in selected schools.
The Philippine furniture industry is one of the most labor-intensive and artistic industries in the country. Furniture companies tap the hardworking, creative and enterprising qualities of Filipinos in manufacturing high-quality furniture. Because of this, the Philippines is known as the “Milan of Asia.” The industry, which is 98% categorized under SMEs, provides 2.1 million indirect workers nationwide and provides business to 5.4 million in its supply chain.
Philippine furniture is made using the finest sustainably-sourced raw materials such as hard wood, buri, rattan, bamboo, metal, and other indigenous products. The wood, box beds and mattresses, office and store fixtures, and plastic furniture subsectors are domestically, oriented while the rattan, and metal subsectors are export-oriented.
Ninety-five percent of furniture companies in the country are classified as SMEs and the three major furniture production areas in the country are in Metro Manila, Pampanga and Cebu. Metro Manila and nearby peripheral cities in CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) consist of small, medium and large furniture enterprises which specializes in wood furniture and other mixed materials. Pampanga is associated with hand-carved wood, wicker and iron products, whereas Cebu, used to be the heart of rattan furniture making in the country, is now known for its fine wood furniture works.
The creativity and industry of the Filipino is the cornerstone of the longstanding success of the Philippine furniture industry. This gives agility and flexibility to produce furniture according to the needs and tastes of buyers. While the industry is also capable of mass production, many companies specialize in producing customer-specific furniture items, which have higher value and durability. Specialization enables contract manufacturing, allowing the industry to cater to the growing needs of families, hotels, restaurants, real estate developers, and tourism-based enterprises.
Various government and private training facilities enhance the natural talent of Filipinos for art and design. Skilled workers and designers widely practice apprenticeship, thereby ensuring that the business and artistic expertise of companies are well preserved and enhanced throughout the years.
There are various sources of demand for furniture items in the Philippines. Coupled with the consistent high growth of the country’s economy and Filipinos’ purchasing power, the United Nations World Tourism Organization and Philippines’ Department of Tourism report strong demand for tourism in the country. Since tourism-based enterprises – such as hotels, restaurants, museums and leisure service providers – face growing needs to update their amenities, the demand for unique furniture items is also increasing. At the same time, the property sector’s strong growth and families’ easier access to housing credit also increase demand for household items – most important of which is furniture.
Through the efforts of the Chamber of Furniture Industries in the Philippines (CFIP) and the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF), the industry is projected to make a global mark through the sustainable production of sophisticated, sturdy and environmentally friendly products.
Gross Value Added and Growth Rates of Furniture & Fixtures to Manufacturing per Quarter, 2011-2014
Value and Growth Rates of Furniture & Fixtures Exports, 2010-Q1 2014
Value of Products and By-Products Sold by Market, 2010
|Gross Value Added (GVA) in Manufacturing (constant 2000 prices)|
|In million pesos||39,326||53,346||77,078||96,173|
|% of Total Mfg GVA||2.97||3.82||5.01||5.78|
|Furniture & Fixtures Export Performance (annual, FOB, in ‘000 US$)|
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority
The production and manufacture of furniture products for export are among the export activities listed in the IPP. This covers the production/manufacture of non-traditional export products and with export requirement of at least 50% of its output, if Filipino-owned, or at least 70%, if foreign-owned.
In 1983, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) launched Manila F.A.M.E. (Furnishings and Apparel Manufacturers’ Exchange) International, “the country’s premier trade platform for exports and design, providing opportunities for small and medium scale entrepreneurs to showcase their products in the world market.” The show is the longest running trade event on housewares, furnishings, gift items, holiday decor, and fashion accessories in the Asia-Pacific Region. A biannual event, furniture and furnishings have been the highlight of Manila FAME until 2014, when the industry chose to shift away from the government program to establish an independent furniture only show.
Through the DOST Forest Products Research and Development Institute, the government generates information and technologies on the utilization of some industrial tree plantation species and non-wood forest products for export quality furniture and handicrafts.
Specifically, the FPRDI conducts research and development on furniture and furniture parts, as well as the testing of these products such as wood and non-wood preservation, wood seasoning/kiln drying, bleaching and dyeing, finishing, saw-milling, termite and power-post beetle treatment. There are currently two Furniture Testing Centers: one in Los Baños, Laguna and one in Lahug, Cebu.
The DTI Regional Operations Group provides support to industries and companies in the regions (outside of Metropolitan Manila). It has the following support programs for furniture companies that can be accessed through DTI regional offices:
The furniture industry technical working group (TWG) conducts meetings to discuss and address industry concerns and issues. Among its activities concern the following:
Industry and Investments Building,
385 Senator Gil Puyat Ave,
Makati City, Philippines
Tel. No.: (632) 895-6682 loc. 259