AHEC to host “largest ever” American hardwood pavilion at IndiaWood 2024

AHEC’s booth in the previous edition of IndiaWood

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has announced it will be hosting their “largest ever” American hardwood pavilion at IndiaWood, set to run from 22-26 Feb 2024 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), in Bengaluru, India.

A record year of exports to India in 2023 coupled with India’s growing appetite for temperate hardwoods has bolstered US hardwood exporters to become increasingly active in India.

The event will see the participation of fourteen US hardwood lumber and veneer exporters under the banner of the American Hardwood Pavilion.

The American Hardwood Pavilion, which will occupy 224m2 of space at the show, will serve to highlight the variety of American hardwood species while also throwing the spotlight on the benefits of the value-added processes undertaken to supply such a high quality and high yielding kiln-dried raw material.

Participating companies include Baillie Lumber, Banks Hardwoods, Bingaman & Son Lumber, Cascade Hardwood, Classic American Hardwoods, Crown Hardwood, Hartzell Hardwoods, Midwest Hardwood Corporation, Midwest Timber Exports, Missouri Walnut, Ron Jones Hardwood, Turman Group, Wheeland Lumber, and WM Cramer Lumber.

“Demand for North American hardwood lumber has been increasing in recent years, with 2023 looking set to be another record year for US hardwood lumber exports to India. Data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the first 11 months of 2023 revealed that US hardwood exports to India were valued at US$6.54m, equating to a volume of 10,905m3,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC regional director.

“We look forward to our participation at IndiaWood, which is a must-attend event for the region’s timber trade and woodworking sector. Now in its 13th year, the show allows us the opportunity to share the comparative benefits of US hardwoods, in a market that offers significant and long-term growth potential.”

According to AHEC, while the export-focused furniture and handicraft manufacturers, concentrated in Rajasthan state, represent the greatest current market opportunity for US hardwood lumber in India, the long-term target market will be domestic consumers.

Currently, this market is primarily serviced by smaller furniture, joinery and flooring manufacturers, who offer bespoke solutions and who are not export-focused.

The size of the domestic furniture market cannot be understated. According to Mordor Intelligence, it is estimated at $15.79bn in 2023, and is expected to reach $26.85bn by 2028, growing at an annual rate of over 11% during the forecast period.

In recent years, the market has expanded beyond chairs and tables to include designed interiors, wardrobes and upholstered furniture sets. Escalating demand for customisation is another major growth-inducing factor, as consumers are seeking personalised, functional, and design-centric furniture.

The heightened focus on sustainability and eco-friendly furniture made from renewable or recycled materials has also catalysed market growth, while several favourable government initiatives, such as the ‘Make in India’ campaign, that encourage domestic manufacturing and enhance the availability of quality furniture at affordable prices are contributing to market growth.

Wiles concluded: “Despite increasing demand, there are very few importer or distributors, especially for such a large market. This means that, while large manufacturers can import containers directly and with relative ease, the smaller ones, of which there are hundreds, if not thousands, are restricted to buying from very limited and geographically-spread out imported stocks.

“Our participation at IndiaWood and the record attendance of US hardwood exporters will certainly help our members grow their business ties in India and create stronger trade relations between India and the American hardwood industry for now and for many years to come.”