Iran Wood and Furniture Industry in a Glimpse

 The art of furniture manufacturing in Iran dates back to the end of the nineteenth century when samples of European furniture at the Royal Household. The Iranian carpenters who had already mastered the skills of working with synthetic woods including various types of wooden doors and windows, closets and stools, wooden rails and ladders, wooden carts and other wooden four-wheel trolleys, different musical instruments next to arts like a diverse range of wood carving, immediately picked up on the style of the European furniture entering the country and began producing a variety of furniture with the flavor of classic European style which today is still considered one of the major branches of the respective industry in Iran.

Moreover, the Iranian carpenters who were manufacturing furniture by utilizing manual tools and dexterity gradually became well-acquainted with different carpentry machinery which had a profound impact on the development and popularity of the furniture and decoration industry in Iran. Accordingly, in the 1950s and 1960s simultaneously with the establishment of large wood cutting, wood drying, coating and plywood plants and the production of wooden doors, parquet and wood chips in different parts of Iran, the culture of manufacturing industrial design furniture emerged in Iran as well.

As the use of furniture became more widespread in the Iranian urban style living, the production of furniture in different branches developed and was facilitated by the opening of a number of industrial furniture units and continued all the way up to the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

After the Revolution followed by the Iran-Iraq War, the furniture industry faced an extreme period of recession in Iran. However, after the end of the war and at the same time as the implementation of ‘Economic Development Plans’ ensued by rapid growth of the construction industry and change of the culture of consumption, the Iranian furniture industry also experienced the start of new round of developments.

This era displayed a much faster growth rate due to factors such as the global improvement and progress in furniture technology, extensive emerging changes in the consumer market of Iran, transformation in global trade equations, etc.

Hence, from 1990 to 2010, a large volume of different modern machinery for furniture manufacturing was imported into the country, followed by large scale investments in the production infrastructure and furniture supply network. Meanwhile, further significant investments were made in the wood panel manufacturing and post-framing as well as other secondary and supplementary industries.

Although, the development of the furniture market in Iran was mostly based on quantity and fast paced growth of the domestic furniture up to 2010, but from that year on the and on par with the formation of the competitive atmosphere in the Iranian market, the furniture industry has taken some rather positive steps towards quality as well. Thus, today we are witnessing the superiority and high grade craftsmanship of many national brands possessing the necessary competitive edge to compete in the international markets. Furthermore, according to the available statistics, there are currently around fifteen thousand large, medium and small units which are active in the manufacture of different types of furniture and synthetic wood furniture throughout Iran. the main areas of furniture production in the country in the order of importance and density include Tehran, Alborz, Khorasan Razavi, E. Azerbaijan Province, Qom and Hamedan provinces. This is while a great number of the manufacturing units in other provinces such as Esfahan, Mazandaran, Fars and Khuzestan are also actively engaged in furniture manufacturing.

Additionally, the main furniture production styles are classic, modern, adult bedroom, youth and children bedroom furniture, kitchen furniture, office furniture and interior decoration and furniture. The training of the active manpower within the Iranian furniture industry is carried out at technical and professional centers in conjunction to universities across the country. it should be reiterated that the availability of a young and skilled workforce is one of the best advantages the industry has.

Considering the special policies of the Iranian government with respect to the support of small- and medium-sized industries, the import tariff on furniture has been specified at fifty five percent (55%). Therefore, importing furniture into the country because of the said tariff and the constant fluctuation in exchange rates has no economic or competitive justification. Note that the aforementioned tariff is far lower on the import of raw materials and parts used for furniture assembly in Iran.

The wood and furniture manufacturers conduct their lines of activities within the format of local and national guilds. Accordingly, at the present time, there are three (3) major wood and furniture organizations which together form three (3) links of the main chain of wood-based products and furniture, namely the Iran Wood Industry Employers Association comprised of large scale wood panel industrial units, Synthetic Coating for Wood Panel Employers Association comprised of short-cycle and post-framing wood panel industrial units and Iran Furniture Manufacturers and Exporters Union comprised of large and medium industrial units and smaller workshops specializing in the production of different furniture.

One positive point about the Iranian furniture product quality and competitiveness is due the utilization of raw materials and up-to-date global technology and the low exchange rate of the national currency verses others, low-wage skilled workers and low-cot energy. Moreover, in addition to the eighty (80) million domestic market, the furniture industry of Iran has access to another three hundred twenty (320) million spread across the Middle Eastern and CIS countries through vast waterway and land border crossings.

The massive infrastructure and the empty capacity of furniture production, low manufacturing costs, the existence of common free zones to the north and south of the country and the overall situation of Iran in the heart of the Middle East and CIS countries, makes this country an exceptional opportunity for partnership investments and entry into the ever-growing and huge furniture and decoration market in all of the Middle Eastern and CIS countries via the manufacturing of various types of furniture.