“If the success of MIFF 2019 is any indication of the future, MIFF 2020 will certainly be the biggest and best show yet.” – promised the organizers of one of the most important event for the furniture industry in Southeast Asia. The upcoming edition of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) will be held from March 6 to 9. You still have time to plan your trip and visit the fair in the spring.
MIFF recently won ‘The Malaysia Iconic Event Award’ for its success in creating a highly valuable industry, both nationally and regionally, measured by both economic
contribution and overall impact. MIFF was also recognised for its innovative and creative elements in planning and execution, as well as in marketing, sales and branding,
stakeholders and client services management. News of MIFF winning the award was prominently featured on an electronic billboard in New York City’s famous Times Square.
MIFF General Manager Ms. Karen Goi said:
“MIFF is honoured to be recognised the voice of Malaysia’s business events industry. Over the years, we have worked hard to raise the profile of MIFF and Malaysia as a global procurement hub and built strong relationships with the furniture industry in Malaysia and across the world. This prestigious award is a tribute to our trade partners and valued customers for their continuing trust and confidence in MIFF and adds another
milestone to our 25th anniversary this year.”
MIFF provides a great platform for us to engage with buyers from 140 countries, which would not have been possible without it. The country has built a reputation as a trusted global furniture producer, with quality products for all types of furniture. News of MIFF’s award comes on the heels of another opportunity for the Malaysian furniture industry: the current trade war between the U.S. and China. As buyers seek alternative sources, many are turning to Malaysia – Asia’s third largest furniture producer behind China and Vietnam. In the first five months of 2019, Malaysian furniture exports increased by 9.16% to a value of US$990 million, compared to the same time last year. The best performing products at MIFF 2019 were seats with wood frames (24.1% growth); metal furniture (16.9%); wood bedroom furniture (14.8%); other wood furniture (8.6%); and kitchen furniture (6.8%).
As the largest single importer, the U.S. market captured a chunk of Malaysia’s exports with orders by U.S. retailers up by 20.8% (US$327 million). Meanwhile, exports to Canada rose by 25.7%. According to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), this expansion signals a possible import diversion by American buyers who may be shifting their orders to countries in Southeast Asia. Indeed, the increase in U.S. buyers was clear at MIFF 2019, with a 53% increase over the year prior.
Organizers follow and determine trends in the region and globally, such as how the industry is changing to meet the demands and expectations of the most active buyers now and in the future – the so-called Millennials. According to Pew Research Center, currently, Millennials are the largest generation in the US labour force (at 35%). It is even more so in Malaysia, where Millennials make up about 50% of the workforce, according to ResearchGate. Due to their high buying power, it’s vital for businesses to understand this group of consumers in order to meet their expectations on products and experience. Millennials are a unique age group. They are exposed to a lot of information, through social media, influencers and other means on the Internet, unlike the previous Generation X and Baby Boomers, who had limited access to information. This exposure shaped their character, making them more vibrant, outspoken, open to new things and ideas, and with a penchant for gadgets and technology. On the other hand, most furniture manufacturers in Malaysia belong to Generation X and tend to be more conservative and not yet ready to take the road less travelled. Manufacturers need to be aware of the growing market of Millennial consumers. To navigate the Millennial consumer market, manufacturers need to be innovative. Something that is fresh, fun, easy-to-operate and incorporated with technology, will appeal to this group of consumers. In terms of Millennial designers, their skills are on par with international standards. The majority of Millennial designers nowadays have been through quality education and possess critical thinking skills, but lack experience in the reallife manufacturing process. For example, they may be able to draw beautifully, but they don’t really understand the material. This hurdle can be overcome by working with the manufacturer.
Recognising the crucial role of the Millennials in defining the future of the furniture market, the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) – the largest furniture trade fair in the region – has come out with various initiatives to support and develop Millennial designers, acting as a platform for them to showcase their designs and make themselves known to the industry. Since 2010, MIFF has been organising the Furniture Design Competition (FDC) annually to celebrate the creative spirit of design and uncover young talent to support Malaysia’s thriving furniture industry. Meanwhile, the Millennials@Design (MAD), held for the first time in 2018, acts as a permanent showcase to increase the global visibility of young Malaysian designers and help them build valuable connections within the international marketplace. In 2020, MAD will be held on a bigger scale with the participation of previous FDC winners, some of whom are already selling their designs in the market and are working closely with industry players. So, be sure to save the date for MIFF 2020 and see the exciting works of Millennial designers for yourself!
Registration for visitors will be open until February 15th. More details about the conditions HERE.
Another trending topic that MIFF will look at is the increasing trend of shared living spaces or the so-called. co-living
With a rising urban population around the world, co-living is increasingly as popular as co-working especially among Millennials. Co-living is the new answer to urban housing crisis as it provides affordable modern homes for urban residents that looking for places that promote a sense of community, as well as providing great accommodation. According to Statista, people in Asia Pacific are the most willing to share their own assets, and received shared assets from others. The rise of the shared economy is propelling a new way of living, and the impacts on the real estate market. In Asia Pacific, the co-living market is increasing as more people migrate to cities for jobs and education opportunities.
MIFF and Hmlet are preparing a special presentation of furniture produced by leading Malaysian companies and suitable for shared living spaces. Singapore-based Hmlet is the fastest growing co-living operator in the Asia Pacific with 100 locations in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. Started in 2016, it provides custom-designed homes and living space which are highly popular with expatriates and mobile urban professionals.
“We are delighted to partner Hmlet on this unique initiative to bring new experience and business ideas to trade buyers. When it comes to co-living space, the selection of furnishings can be very challenging. Furniture must resonate with the tastes of a group of individuals, it has to be functional yet stylish, space saving, and exude a feel of home. Such products are driving market growth and they can be sourced right here in MIFF.” said Ms Karen Goi, General Manager of MIFF
Make sure you visit the MIFF’s website, where organizers have made efforts to provide you with up-to-date information about your upcoming event and the planning of your business visit.
Traditionally this year, MD is honored guest to capture the lively highlights of the trade show.
Look forward for a review of the event on the website and follow us on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM for live news.