Home Sweet Home
Customised and green home-interior products are in big demand on the Chinese mainland.
16 September 2015
Custom-built furniture and fixtures, as well as smart, integrated systems were among the prominent trends at last July’s China (Guangzhou) International Building Decoration Fair. European and American design influences proved popular, as did imported raw materials. Many exhibitors also highlighted environmentally-friendly products.
Consumers are moving away from mass-produced, standardised home furnishings, presenting a key growth area for customisation. A survey of exhibitors found that 62 per cent said they would expand their product varieties, with only 38 per cent saying they preferred to focus on their current business.
Among them was Guangzhou’s Snimay Home, which exhibited its wardrobe products. Set up in 2003, the company was named among the most influential brands in China's wardrobe industry by the China Furniture and Decoration Chamber of Commerce. There are now more than 800 Snimay stores across the mainland, with outlets in 30 provinces, cities and autonomous regions.
Huang Weiguo, Vice President of Snimay Home and General Manager of the wardrobe division, said the company has a strong portfolio in customised wardrobe production. It has now imported a Homag production line from Germany to boost production capacity, with its output projected to reach Rmb400 million this year.
Mr Huang believed that the bespoke wardrobe sector would see 10-fold growth in the near future, on top of its rapid growth over the last three years. The business is also diversifying, with Snimay product lines now extending to doors and windows. Mr Huang predicted that the mainland custom-made wardrobe business would surge by about 20 per cent to 25 per cent this year, while his company expects a 40 per cent to 50 per cent growth in its wardrobe sales.
Importance of Branding
The “tailor-built house” logo of Guangzhou Holike Creative Home Furnishing proved particularly eye-catching at the show. Paul Andreu, the architect behind China's National Centre for the Performing Arts, is the company's chief designer and its image spokesman. Holike uses eco-friendly, formaldehyde-free primary plywood with zero additives as the core material for its various product lines, such as the Mandellin, European Boutique, Supreme Antique Carves, Original Board and Solid Wood series.
Another exhibitor, Shanghai's Power Dekor Group, showcased its flagship laminate flooring products, along with kitchen cabinets, wardrobes and wooden doors. The company customises products according to client specifications and operates a “standard scale integration” system for large homes. The system standardises the material, production, style, service and design of custom furnishings to offer customers a one-stop shopping experience.
Power Dekor also rolled out several new products at the show, including a door that embodies a “new door, new choice” concept. According to the company, its wooden doors are eco-friendly, with surfaces free from formaldehyde and heavy metals. The company claims its products are stain-resistant and easy to clean, while also being hard-wearing, with a 5H-level hardness to withstand scratches. The doors also resist colour fade over time, as well as being fire-retardant, having a reduced burn speed and a delayed ignition time.
Luxury Wood Furniture
The rise in living standards has fuelled consumers' growing pursuit of individuality. As a result, a substantial market for primary wood and solid wood furniture has emerged, offering abundant market potential for luxurious furnishing styles.
This is highlighted by the Jingyihaoting brand, available from Dongguan's Best Furniture. This consists of a range of American-style solid wood furniture. The company's General Manager of Marketing, Xiao Wangsheng, said its two major product lines are movable furniture and its wide range of home furnishings.
According to Mr Xiao, the company is focused on the high-end market, offering American oak, hickory, cherry wood and African rosewood as its customised and whole-house furnishing materials, with North American catalpa used in movable furniture. Offering a one-stop service to customers, Best Furniture says its services include the complete furnishing process, from site measurement, design, custom furniture production to final delivery, within approximately three months.
Mr Xiao said that whole-house customised furnishings for a 300 to 400-square-metre residence, from on-site measurement to final installation and warranty, costs an average of about Rmb2 million. Its customised furnishing business alone has resulted in 60 per cent to 70 per cent annual growth for Best Furniture. Mr Xiao believes that the high-end consumption market will continue to hold good prospects, with mass-produced furniture increasingly seen as outdated.
Also taking advantage of this trend is St Emperor International Whole Wood Custom. Positioned at the high-end market, the company's Deputy General Manager, Yang Xianman, described its products as luxury items from design to layout, made entirely of imported wood. The firm's design directors and consultants are all Italian.
Some 70 per cent of St Emperor's orders are placed by villa residents, with assets in the Rmb5 million to Rmb10 million range. In 2013, the company's customers came mostly from the Jiangsu-Zhejiang, Bohai Bay, Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan and coastal Guangdong regions. As of last year, rapid developments have been seen in the central mainland markets, including Hunan, Hubei and Anhui, with the company recording gross output of Rmb80 million. Its target for this year is Rmb100 million.
Many of the exhibits also came equipped with “smart” functions. Zhejiang's Sanfer Electric, for instance, showcased its T9 series of integrated cookers at the fair. According to the company, the telescopic chimney duct in its integrated cooker can be fully concealed inside the body. A touch-operated digital display panel combines all functions, albeit with cooking times restricted to between one and 99 minutes.
Another exhibitor, L Best Intelligent Technology from Guangdong, also debuted new products at the fair, including its automated clothes racks that can be controlled wirelessly and include lighting, air-drying, smart drying and disinfection functions.
Meanwhile, the electronic lock displays of The Dongguan Shijie Honglg Electronics Factory, were designed to appeal to the more security-conscious buyers. Its product lines range from facial and fingerprint biometric identification locks to password remote control locks and smart hotel auxiliary devices. The company says that its high-capacity biometric identification locks can detect faces, with no background or lighting distractions, addressing some common problems that have traditionally proved a challenge to the sector, such as changes in lighting, facial expression and age.
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