The South African furniture Industry is an important sector in the South African economy, considering both its labour-intensity and its potential for developing small, micro and medium-sized businesses and for exports. It is sustained by timber supplies from a vibrant forestry sector.
Africa has vast resources of unique indigenous wood that require a concerted effort at regional level to integrate in regional manufacturing to enable value creation. Market development can be linked to regional and international niche market development, with considerable export potential. Enforcement of local procurement legislation and initiatives to expand the local market are under way.
South Africa’s exports of furniture were worth US$ 4.23 billion in 2016, with seven out of the top 10 South African export destination markets being other African countries, namely: Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The top growing export product from 2009 to 2016 was mattresses with springs (60.4%).
At the same time as developing niche products for the high-income market, mass production of durable products for the low-income market has been identified in government’s industrial plan. Opportunities also exist in the school and office furniture market since three quarters of furniture manufactured is destined for households. Regional markets also offer new opportunities.