The biggest furniture and craft exhibition in Indonesia and ASEAN, Indonesia International Furniture Expo (IFEX) 2018, concluded on 12th March, attracting more visitors YoY and setting out plans to raise its game even further in 2019 …

Reporting 11,429 buyers and visitors from 114 countries, and featuring around 500 local and international exhibitors, IFEX 2018 was a strong edition, which saw on-the-spot bookings reach some US$350m – and that is before follow-up transactions are taken into account.

As in previous editions, this year’s show featured products from domestic producers and further afield, as well as a number of supporting programmes and facilities for visitors and exhibitors. In addition, IFEX succeeded in growing upwards and outwards, as the number of exhibitors employing double-decker booths increased, and the outdoor exhibition area expanded.

Soenoto, the chairman of Indonesia’s Furniture and Craft Industry Association, HIMKI, the coalition of associations which hosts the show, comments: “In addition to more participants in the outdoor area, in this year’s exhibition we also presented CraftNation in hall C3, which featured unique craft from some regions in the country. We also maintained the Hall of Excellence, a product display curated by HIMKI which makes it easy for buyers – particularly first-time visitors – to find their desired items.”

This year, IFEX introduced a mobile app to helps visitors find information on the exhibition and its daily agenda, and make appointments with exhibitors. Daswar Marpaung, president-director of show organiser Dyandra Promosindo, says: “We realise that many visitors, buyers and exhibitors are not yet aware of our mobile apps – in the future, we hope there will be more taking advantage of them.”

The fifth edition of IFEX again attracted positive responses in general. Some visitors commented that the years of window shopping seemed to be over, and that many buyers arrived with their chosen purchases already mapped out, leading to a greater number of transactions.

“We believe the achievement in this year’s exhibition has exceeded the previous one,” agrees HIMKI secretary-general, Abdul Sobur. “We hope the positive trend did not only exist during the exhibition, but will continue beyond it – and for many years to come.” Indeed, it will have to, if Indonesia is to hit its government’s ambitious furniture export target of US$5b next year.  

A change of schedule could also help bolster engagement. Despite IFEX being a popular stop on the Asian furniture exhibition circuit, its close calendar proximity to other exhibitions in the region meant that some foreign visitors missed out this year – a problem HIMKI hopes to address next year. “We will try to co-ordinate with other organisers in the region so we can arrange a more suitable date for the exhibition in the future,” says Daswar, who also points out that he will continue to encourage the association’s members to provide English-language supporting materials from their stands.

Accordingly, HIMKI has high hopes for next year’s show, which will take place from 11-14th March 2019. 

“Next year, with a more flexible exhibition schedule, we hope to draw more international buyers and visitors. We also hope the total transactions made during next year’s IFEX will be more than we achieved this year,” concludes Soenoto.