Natalya Kudenkova, Head of Consumer Goods Sector at the Aluminium Association, spoke at the round table on import substitution within the business programme of the RusMebel-2022 forum at the 33rd international exhibition Mebel-2022 at Expocentre Fairgrounds. The event, which presented projects for the production of critical components for the furniture and woodworking industries (fittings, fabrics, chemicals), was organised by the Association of Furniture and Woodworking Industries of Russia, and Expocentre JSC.
In her speech, Natalya Kudenkova spoke about the national aluminium furniture market and the most promising areas of its development. According to the expert, the country produces a wide range of furniture fittings, as well as profiles for sliding wardrobes, doors, and cabinet furniture based on aluminium frames. There are more than 40 aluminium profile manufacturers in the Aluminium Association, some of which manufacture products for the furniture industry and specialise in anodising and painting.
There are still few Russian manufacturers of aluminium furniture, they are mainly concentrated in the regions and work according to individual orders. Until recently, it was difficult for domestic companies to compete with Chinese manufacturers of travel furniture. However, the introduction of lockdowns in the PRC and the high cost of delivery from Greater China led to the fact that consumer demand shifted towards Russian products, and this segment became attractive for domestic companies. Several destinations have emerged that are seeing a surge in the development of domestic tourism, making aluminium alloy travel furniture in demand. The advantages of such furniture are its low weight, high quality, and durability. Today, new manufacturers of furniture for summer cottages and recreation are entering the market, which produce luminaries, premium garden furniture, as well as furniture of minor forms.
The use of products made of aluminium alloys is especially important for coastal areas with a high salt load. The segment of furniture for the hospitality industry as well as cafés, verandas, garden areas and country residences has been vacated after IKEA left the market. It is important to note that, unlike plastic, aluminium furniture offers a different level of comfort and design.
Another promising area is special furniture that can be used by the Ministry of Emergency Situations for temporary accommodation of those affected by natural disasters. Such products should be purchased from Russian manufacturers. In cooperation with domestic manufacturers of special medical and rehabilitation furniture, the Aluminium Association is working on the localisation of certain items that were previously imported.
In September, at the Build School 2022 exhibition, samples of school furniture made from aluminium, desks and chairs, were presented. This type of furniture has become popular five or six years ago. There are also projects for remote areas to build modular schools from aluminium structures. Such modular schools, respectively, are equipped with student furniture made of aluminium.
Especially strict requirements are imposed on modern school furniture: it must be not only comfortable and functional, but also safe. The use of aluminium makes it lightweight and aesthetically pleasing, thanks to the unique set of characteristics of aluminium and the possibilities of decorating it in a wide range of colours.
Concluding her presentation, Natalya Kudenkova noted that the situation on the aluminium furniture market has been changing dramatically in recent years: Russian manufacturers are opening up wide opportunities for implementing projects based on aluminium and its alloys.