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How to increase revenue from furniture?

by Kashif Ishfaq
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kashif Ishfaq

One of the sectors that require special attention to increase Pakistan’s revenue is the furniture industry. Handcrafted Pakistani furniture made of wood is highly demanded in global markets and is considered a status symbol. Furniture made from Pakistani wood is in high demand in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait. In the United States, there is more demand for bedroom furniture, while in the United Kingdom and Gulf countries, there is more demand for kitchen and office furniture. Despite this, Pakistan’s share in the global market for furniture, which has a volume of more than 600 billion dollars, is less than one percent.

Pakistan Furniture Council has been playing an active role for the past decade to increase Pakistan’s share in the global furniture market. As the head of this non-profit organization, I recently had the opportunity to personally witness the demand for Pakistani furniture during my visit to the United States. I have no hesitation in saying that Pakistani furniture can play an important role in achieving annual revenue targets of over a billion dollars in this sector in the United States.

During my trip, I also met with top officials of the American Furniture Association who have assured me of their commitment to provide access to Pakistani furniture manufacturers to American markets. Additionally, an offer was made to Pakistani furniture manufacturers to have separate areas in American exhibitions where they can display their products and showcase their quality and durability to potential customers.

It is noteworthy here that America is the largest customer of furniture worldwide in terms of demand, with a total volume of the furniture market exceeding $250 billion and growing annually by more than 4%. Furthermore, due to the trend toward improvement in the market, there is a vast potential for an increase in the volume of furniture revenue. This is because the demand for household, as well as office and wooden furniture, is increasing in both American and European markets. Under these circumstances, if special attention is given to searching for new foreign markets at the governmental level to increase furniture revenue, better results can be achieved.

In the past few years, a significant amount of work has been done in this regard, and there has been a noticeable increase in furniture revenue during the current financial year compared to the previous year. However, the furniture industry still feels a strong need to formulate long-term policies, and the government needs to take priority actions in this regard. Additionally, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan should also organize single-country expos in countries like the United States and invite foreign investors for joint projects to showcase Pakistani products. We also need to align the human resource associated with the furniture industry in Pakistan with the latest demands so that we can obtain large-scale revenue orders while ensuring that their global standards are met with timely and efficient delivery.

Keeping the potential of this sector in mind, Pakistan Furniture Council is exploring new business opportunities and making access to new markets possible for Pakistani products. In June, more than one hundred Pakistani companies participated in the Algeria Expo through the Pakistan Furniture Council’s platform. This expo can be the best opportunity to showcase Pakistani products and to make business deals with international buyers. Participation in this expo will provide Pakistani exporters with a new market that is rich in competition from Europe and the United States. In essence, these types of exhibitions can help manufacturers.

This approach will not only provide an opportunity for Pakistani companies to expand their businesses, but will also increase their understanding of the new demands of the furniture industry. In this regard, the role of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan is commendable, as it is providing full cooperation to every sector that is creating new products to increase revenue by searching for new markets.

It is worth mentioning here that the furniture manufacturing industry in Pakistan is mostly dependent on traditional methods. On the other hand, the duty and taxes on new and automatic machinery for furniture manufacturing are so high that if an organization decides to buy it, it becomes a loss for them. Although furniture made in Pakistan is in great demand globally, due to various reasons, we could not provide the development or attention that was required for this industry.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan had abolished the duty on the basic raw material for furniture, i.e. wood, on the recommendations of the Pakistan Furniture Council. Now the need is to also eliminate the duty on various revenue-generating products used for furniture manufacturing such as machinery and hardware.

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