"The Ifex event has proven to have a positive effect on the Indonesian furniture industry, thereby facilitating continued growth of the Indonesian furniture market," Kartasasmita noted in his remarks at the virtual opening of Ifex 2021, Monday.
The minister explained that Ifex had, so far, been held annually and had become the largest furniture exhibition in Indonesia and also in Southeast Asia.
Minister Kartasasmita is optimistic that the virtual version of Ifex would not dampen the enthusiasm of exhibitors and would continue to offer an optimal shopping experience to buyers.
The minister also expects sales figures to rise since transportation and accommodation costs were not involved in the online exhibition as required in physical exhibitions.
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Kartasasmita explained that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated business actors and the government to continue to make smart and effective innovations for industries to survive, in this case, furniture and craft industries.
Responding to conditions during the pandemic, the furniture and craft industry had proven to have a high level of resilience, he pointed out.
The significant household reorganization spending due to the pandemic had become one of the factors. This new hobby is a switch from entertainment, tourism, and transportation, to other areas, such as technology products and the need to organize or renovate homes.
"Online shopping activities during the pandemic also support increased sales of furniture, exports, and the domestic market," Minister Kartasasmita explained.
This was apparent from the export performance of furniture products in 2020 (HS 9401-9403), which increased by US$1.91 billion, or an increase of 7.6 percent, from US$1.77 billion recorded in 2019.
The biggest export destinations for Indonesian furniture in 2020 are the US, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
"The market's purchasing power for furniture and handicraft products is still high. We need to respond to this by providing alternative access to product promotions, including through the Ifex Virtual Showroom exhibition," he added.
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