Turkey’s furniture sector remains resilient amid the coronavirus pandemic, with businesses thriving amid lockdowns and continuing to make investments.

This year the sector could grow 5% due to investments in online sales channels and resuming furniture exports in the normalization period after the pandemic’s peak, the head of the Furniture Industry Businessmen’s Association told Anadolu Agency.

While the sector normally posts 10%-15% growth every year, customers postponed their furniture needs due to the pandemic and the market has narrowed, said Nuri Gurcan.

COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to at least 188 countries and regions and affected business activity globally, prompting travel restrictions and lockdowns.

“In the normalization process, exports resumed rapidly and the domestic market revived due to weddings and low-interest rate credit,” said Gurcan.

There have been no interruptions in investment plans in the sector due to the pandemic and some firms even opened new branches, he highlighted.

During that period, the sector tried to strengthen its network and held business gatherings online, he recalled.

“In the new era, Turkey can fill China’s gap in international furniture markets. Turkey is the 13th country on a global scale, but it is targeting to become the fifth in 2023 in furniture sales.”

 Quality production

Turgay Terzi, the head of the furniture firm Art Design, told how the domestic furniture market narrowed 80% during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.

“We closed our branches to protect our personnel’s health, but we provide online channels to our customers,” he noted.

He said interior design specialists provided free services to the firm’s customers with 3D drawings.

“In the normalization process, we resumed our exports to the EU,” he stressed.

Terzi said the domestic market also recovered with the government’s support and the wedding season.

“We continued to make investments even in the peak period of the pandemic and opened a new branch in Istanbul at a cost of 8 million Turkish liras [$1.17 million].

“We plan to open a branch in the Netherlands in the last quarter of this year to ease our operations in the EU,” he added.

The Turkish furniture sector has the capacity for fast, quality production and to export its products to several countries.

“Our only shortcoming is designing, but once we resolve this problem, Turkey will become a hub for global furniture production,” he added.

Sector did not stop

Koray Caliskan, the chairman of Turkey’s oldest furniture mall, Modoko, said that in the first month of the pandemic, only 10% of the mall’s showrooms closed and all the shops reopened in May.

“During the pandemic, we established the country’s biggest furniture website, including over 300 firms,” he said.

“We will close out this year with no negative results, with the help of discounts and government support. Our firms are focused on sales instead of profits.”

Touching on Modoko’s showroom projects in the US and Dubai, Caliskan said they were postponed to the last quarter of this year due to the pandemic.

“Furniture sales dropped globally because it’s not a primary need, but sales in some categories rose such as chairs and desks, due to needs in home office working environments.”

He said the sector did not stop during the pandemic, but rather produced for stockpiling.

“We continued to organize business events via online channels and didn’t lose our markets. We even boosted trust in Turkish furniture.”

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