SINGAPORE - From a handcrafted Peranakan desk to Star Wars-inspired stools, visitors at this year's International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) will have plenty to feast their eyes on.
The furniture fair, which opened on Thursday (March 8) and will be at the Singapore Expo till the end of the weekend, brings together 374 exhibitors from 26 countries. The fair was first held in 1981.
In this year's edition, some highlights are the "Carte Blanche" showcase of renowned and emerging brands, 15 pavilions displaying the works of different countries, and the Italian New Renaissance "house" featuring leading Italian brands. The fair is also the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific to feature an augmented reality zone.
Meanwhile, home accessories brand Sam & Sara is showcasing its new Peranakan Moderne collection, comprising 10 pieces ranging from mirrors to storage units.
Organisers expect the annual event to draw some 20,000 international trade buyers and visitors from more than 100 countries.
Speaking at the fair's launch event, Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), said the global furniture market is expected to expand from $624 billion in 2016 to $770 billion in 2021, with the Asia-Pacific market continuing to see strong 5 per cent growth.
"Coupled with changing consumer preferences and the emergence of new technologies, these developments present fresh and exciting opportunities for the furniture industry."
He was speaking two days after the Singapore Furniture Industries Council had launched the Singapore Furniture Industry 2021 Roadmap, part of the broader Industry Transformation Map in the retail industry. The road map outlines a slew of strategies aimed at making Singapore a hub in Asia for furniture.
In his speech, Mr Iswaran also said that e-commerce has become more important, especially in Asia, where its penetration rates are expected to experience double-digit growth.
And consumers now have different preferences.
"Young urban-dwellers are well-travelled, design-savvy, and digitally-inclined. They have specific tastes and needs, and are looking for unique pieces to differentiate their homes and express themselves. Companies can no longer rely on the same designs, and will have to create distinctive designs and features," he said.
He encouraged companies to tap new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, and seek new market segments and adapt their business models.
Next year's fair, says IFFS chariman Ernie Koh, will be held at Marina Bay Sands.
For more information, visit https://www.iffs.com.sg