The government is considering import restrictions on more than 350 items, including furniture, by putting in place non-tariff barriers to support domestic industry. Steps such as introducing an import-monitoring system for some and mandatory licensing requirements for others are being examined. The move is in line with the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” objective, to cut import dependence, and encourage production and demand for locally made goods. Different ministries have been working in the direction such as finance, commerce, MSME as well as NITI Aayog are working on ways to curb imports. At the same stringent, product standards are being worked out by the BIS.
Plans are also under the consideration of the government to launch an import monitoring system for some as well as mandatory licensing requirements for others.
The size of the organised furniture market in India is about Rs 25,000 crore, while the overall furniture market size in India about Rs2 trillion. Furniture imports from China into India are currently estimated at US$2 billion. With anti-Chinese sentiment prevailing in the country now, the wood panel industry and the furniture makers in India expect a big opportunity for Indian modular furniture makers in replacing these Chinese imports over medium to long term. According to them, there is likelihood of an increasing acceptance of ready-made furniture or modular furniture in India which would also drive higher demand.
It’s believed that after the outbreak of COVID-19, trend would be towards readymade furniture than call the carpenters home to make furniture. Post-COVID-19 people would be wary of calling carpenters home because of social distancing and this practice may continue at least till the threat of virus exists.
Because of the popularity of the concept of social distancing and its benefits in avoiding COVID-19 the wood panel industry, mainly the manufacturers of MDF and Particle Board, are seeing a mid-term opportunity with likely change in consumer behaviour pattern towards renting of homes instead of buying and thereby, preference is likely to move towards ready-made/modular furniture. Even otherwise in near term, need-based furniture requirements would likely drive demand for modular furniture.
Therefore, restricting the import of furniture imports would give much needed fillip to domestic carpenters and furniture manufacturers.