As an emerging national and worldwide economic power, Vietnam is a significant force in the global furniture industry. In recent years it has rapidly grown and become one of the world’s fastest-growing furniture exporters, and in the last few years it has also developed into one of the major providers of luxury furnishings in Australia. This growth has been fueled by a particularly strong focus on design and interiorisation, with Vietnamese designers producing some of the most striking and innovative pieces anywhere in the world. Although Vietnam is not considered to be an especially lucrative furniture export in comparison to more established international manufacturers, there are definite opportunities for Vietnamese furniture manufacturers to grow their businesses in Australia and to capitalize on the growing domestic and international interest in Vietnamese design.
Vietnam is a major agricultural producer, and although agriculture is declining in real terms, there is still considerable potential growth in exports of timber, seafood, and other foodstuffs. The key areas of focus for Vietnamese importers and suppliers tend to be furniture, wooden furniture, and accessories such as beds and dining room furniture. Vietnamese wooden furniture is particularly popular in Australia, where there is a particularly strong desire for luxury furnishings and home decorations, and a growing interest in eastern themed styles of decorating.
The largest proportions of Vietnam’s total exports are in the furniture sector, which is fueled by strong demand from Australia. However, there are some significant challenges that Vietnam’s furniture suppliers may have to overcome if they are to succeed in penetrating and profiting from the local market. One of these challenges is gaining access to a potentially large and stable domestic market – the government restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam have constrained this growth, while the prevalence of unregulated private markets has meant that local firms have been unable to gain access to FDI, or the necessary financing to start up. As well as access to finance and infrastructure, Vietnamese manufacturers will need to develop a stronger marketing position, drawing on the experience of existing furniture wholesalers and distributors – as well as utilizing new technologies to further promote their business.