The Manufacture of Furniture in South Africa evaluates the domestic industry, government attempts to stimulate local manufacture and factors influencing the sector’s success. It profiles 27 companies including vertically integrated players Bravo Group Manufacturing, Africa’s largest mattress and furniture manufacturer, and KAP Industrial Holdings, and the effect on KAP of the Steinhoff International crisis. The report includes comprehensive information on measures implemented by government to support the local furniture manufacturing sector including a furniture market access programme, turnaround solutions programme, rebates and incentive schemes.
Industry Contribution to the Economy
South African manufacturing sales of furniture at current prices amounted to R16.2bn in 2017, 6.6% higher than in 2016. A total of 2,200 registered companies in the furniture manufacturing sector, employing 26,400 people, contribute about 1% to manufacturing GDP and 1.1% to manufacturing employment. During 2017 South Africa was Africa’s second-largest furniture exporter, with exports reaching R3.9bn.
A shortage of higher-skilled workers, rising production costs, and poor domestic demand are affecting the performance of local furniture manufacturers. The cost of labour, electricity, raw materials and transportation continue to shrink operating margins and make it difficult for them to compete in local and international markets. The industry is also negatively affected by declining investment in capital equipment, insufficient research and development, and little design improvement or new product development. Imported furniture is often cheaper than what is manufactured locally, and furniture imports grew 6.2% to R6.9bn during 2017. South African furniture manufacturers are also facing competition from Chinese furniture in their important export markets in Africa.
With about 80% of the companies in the furniture manufacturing sector classified as micro enterprises, these challenges impose significant pressure on the bulk of players in the industry.