Nguyen Chanh Phuong, vice president and general secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts and Wood Processing Association (HAWA), said the furniture segment for small urban houses is abuzz in Vietnam, with its main customers being young adults born between 1980 and 2000.
Unlike the previous generation, who preferred simple but durable furniture that could last 100 years, young people prefer to buy comprehensive interior packages based on their own aesthetic views, he explained.
They see furniture as things that serve their needs and not assets to be passed down, and so products only need to last about 10 years, he said, pointing out this was why furniture makers like IKEA have been so successful.
"There is a lot of opportunity arising from this group of customers alone. I estimate they only account for 15 percent in terms of number of buyers but account for 30-40 percent of spending."
Industry insiders said the market is seeing rapid growth in raw materials production, design and manufacture of furniture, and one can now find all types of international "fashionable" wood varieties from Germany, the U.S., France, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand.
Vietnam’s furniture market was worth $4 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow to $5-7 billion by 2025, according to the Handicraft And Wood Industry Association of HCMC.
Nguyen Quoc Khanh, HAWA chairman, said not only is the scale growing but also Vietnamese are increasingly demanding higher quality products.
"I think 'strong and durable’ is not the Vietnamese style; it was a need at a difficult time. Life is much better now, so people are allowed to express themselves.
"The only regret is that the market has not yet created the necessary ecosystem for the business of interior design. That is, furniture manufacturers have not been able to work with designers and real estate companies to completely meet users’ needs."
According to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), some 80 percent of luxury woodwork and interior decoration items is imported from Europe, with local players accounting for the rest.