Local sourcing organisation Proudly South African, in collaboration with the the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, will launch a dedicated furniture portal to make the sourcing of locally made furniture easier.
The furniture sector in South Africa was an employer of 50 000 people in 3 500 manufacturing plants in 2001, but employment has decreased to about 20 000 direct jobs in just over 1 000 factories.
Raw material inputs provide indirect jobs to many more, including for fabrics, wood, steel, paint and other inputs.
“The success of the portals that we introduced in 2020, primarily in response to Covid-19 requirements of masks and other personal protective equipment, showed us how important having one central database of suppliers can be, and how it can make buying local so much easier,” says Proudly South African CEO Eustace Mashimbye.
“The value of the furniture industry in South Africa is enormous and we want to tap into the procurement of furniture especially by corporate South Africa and this portal will be a place to which we can drive demand,” he adds.
The site is currently being populated with qualifying local furniture companies and will be a listing where retailers, architects, property developers and consumers can find furniture.
“It is evident that selling and shopping online have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has now changed consumer behaviour.
"What we saw in 2020 is going to continue post-pandemic. These changes are not a way simply to make it through, they are permanent and are redefining what a meaningful retail experience could look like,” notes Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Nomalumgelo Gina.
The Furniture Portal will be formally launched on April 28.