GDC preliminary statistics on export markets of rattan, bamboo, sedge, carpet in 2 months of 2014 - Unit: USD
Based on the experience of enterprises, by investment in designing, materials, skill of workforce and market research, enterprises in handicrafts sector have expanded exports to the EU – a discerning market.
Businesses said the pattern designs play a huge role, accounting for 30-50% of the success of the order when entering this market. Besides designing products as the leading factor when conquering the EU market, it’s necessary to combine the unique concept of the designer with consumer’s requirement of color and price. Designs in product collections will be replicated. They should not only invest in color, quality of products but also create eco-friendly products. More importantly, companies need to locate prices for corresponding segments.
Product design is the "key" of handicraft businesses to penetrate deeper into the EU market. The EU itself is also traditional markets and important of the Vietnam arts and crafts sector when Vietnam's export turnover of the sector to this market has always maintained stable growth. For example, the first two months of 2014, the value of Vietnam handicrafts exports in some of markets in EU increased sharply over the same period such as Germany reached USD 4.3 million, up 10.26%; Spain reached 944 thousand, up 43.67%; Sweden USD 754.8 thousand, up 43.93%.
According to Mr. Ta Hoang Linh, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, under the Ministry of Industry and Trade: Designing is a very important issue for the promotion of exports of handicrafts sector in Vietnam, but in general the capacity of designing in the industry is still limited, thus product innovation is unclear and has not created the strong export growth.
To support businesses over time, the Trade Promotion Agancy has organized counseling programs to help businesses understand the basic contents of trends and methods of product development, branding. In particular, the Agency is working with the British Council in Vietnam to organize Innovative Design Program and access to markets of Europe handicraft products and furnishing. This will be a good opportunity for businesses in the sector to find out market trends and develop appropriate export strategies to the EU market in 2014.
To export handicraft products to the British market, Vietnam enterprises should build their own product line, unique, transmit information about the product. Designs, color products also need to follow changes of seasons and holidays in years.
According to Mr.Ngoc, the cause of this situation is EU traditional export markets were heavily influenced by economic recession, which made the volume of orders and prices drop strongly.
Not only export, domestic handicrafts consumption also fell sharply by weak purchasing power. Plus the high input prices that increased the cost of products, it’s hard to compete with similar products of other countries.
Need to make breakthrough
Mr. Ta Quang Can - Director of NAMHA-UDOMXAY IMPORT - EXPORT J.S.C (Nam Dinh) - said, handicrafts have never had difficulties as today, unsold goods, tough competition, especially from China .
However, Mr Ngoc said that market forces are not the main cause leading to the current difficulty of handicrafts, the root of problem is that products of Vietnam lacked creativity, no new products.
Vietnam Handicraft so far is mass production, not diverse, leading to decrease value orders. "Handicrafts are produced according to experience and traditional designs, lack of breakthrough innovation, backward compared to the trend of the world" - said Mr.Ngoc.
According to Mr.Ngoc, to remedy this situation, it’s necessary to focus on investment in design, product diversification. Currently, Vietcraft are focusing on the new product line, not only overcome the current difficulties, but also enhance the value of export orders.
“Upcoming, Vietcraft will launch the National Design Center of handicraft goods. Beyond their function of creating new models, the center is also responsible for researching consumption trends of the market and provide enterprises "- Mr Ngoc said.
Expenses in place, timely delivery
When business is difficult, most businesses are cutting advertising costs, but must invest in the right place, the right audience. This is the experience that handicrafts export businesses gained from reality." Our customers are mainly from abroad, therefore, Saigon Palm spent more money on advertising, marketing on sites such as Google, Alibaba ... at a cost of more expensive, but it’s better to spend money to get effectiveness better than small investment without getting anything" Mr.Thinh, Director of Saigon Palm added. Thanks to boldly invest in marketing, his company signed orders with foreign partners. He also regularly receive requests for visiting exhibition and production areas from many international clients. This is the positive feedbacks from the market.
For Duc Thanh Wood, the secret of searching orders and keeping the old customers is "learn how to share with clients in difficult times like not raising prices, meeting the shortest delivery time to customers ". For Nhat Nam Furniture Company, after hard time, Ms.Phan Thi Thanh Truc, Deputy General Director of the company, said general signal for 2014 will be better than 2013. "More orders, higher value, the expected export sales increased by 20% from the previous year, "she said.
Although handicraft market has been many positive signs, but according to Ms. Truc, in 2014, enterprises are still significant challenges such as material price, freight rate, continuous increase of labor costs. Therefore, find a good sign, but not subjective, still have to do our best, to maintain quality and respond quickly to customer requirements ... can go a long, long walk.
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