Solid showing in Turkish furniture exports despite virus

Turkey's buoyant furniture sector managed to maintain its strong export performance in 2020 despite the coronavirus, according to industry experts.

Nuri Gürcan, head of the Furniture Industry Businessmen Association, said Turkey's exports in 2020 totaled $3.5 billion, unchanged from the previous year, bucking the challenges of the pandemic.

Last year's figures made Turkey the eighth-largest furniture exporter in the world, close on the heels of the U.S. with $4.7 billion and Canada at $3.7 billion.

"If we hit our target for 2021, which is around $4 billion to $4.5 billion, we'll climb to seventh place," he said. 

 Nimble market mover

Turkey is also the world's 13th-largest furniture manufacturer, and Gürcan said it managed to reach these impressive figures despite the virus thanks to its ability to keep sales channels active.

Iraq, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Israel, France, Libya, the UK, Romania, and the Netherlands were Turkish furniture's main export markets in 2020, he said.

"Especially 2020 was a banner growth year for our exports to the U.S.," he added.

China took a back seat because it was ground zero for the virus, according to Gürcan, stressing that runaway freight costs made European countries turn closer to home to Turkey.

Koray Çalışkan, the chairman of Modoko, Turkey's oldest furniture showroom, also praised the country's strong export performance last year, saying Turkish furniture was one of the sectors that reacted the quickest to the changing pandemic market.

Sector players launched online shopping websites to meet demand during the lockdown, he said.

"We prepared the infrastructure for a virtual fair, which will last 365 days in an industry first,"...

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