TOP laminate manufacturer Formica revealed that Asia is leading the way for global design and innovation, and that the Philippines is at the center of it—being the company’s primary growth engine for its Asia operations.
Formica Asia President Jerome Michel shared this observation during a news briefing held recently in Bonifacio Global City. According to him, Formica is growing 10 percent per year in Asia, but its sales growth in the Philippines is increasing an even more impressive 25 percent annually.
“The Philippines is, indeed, one of the markets to watch out for,” Michel said. “It has a relatively young population that is truly global and is more curious and open to new design trends. This makes them more likely to express themselves in terms of the interior design of their homes.”
Asked to describe the young Philippine market in terms of their interior-design preferences, Michel said that young Filipinos now would like to customize the interiors of their homes, and they favor designs that strike a balance between conservatism and creativity.
Formica is touted as the inventor of laminates, which are decorative surfacing that has extensive use in the interiors of both residential and commercial spaces. The company also launched its two new collections during the event: “Formica for More” aimed for commercial spaces, and Formica for Me, a brand-new residential design collection exclusive for the Asian market.
The Formica for Me collection features four design themes (Asian Urban, Comfort Mode, Fresh Nature and Sophisticated Lux) and 54 décors, which are all centered around the philosophy of finding calm amid the chaos of the modern environment. According to Formica’s Asia Design Manager Angel Lin, the company has kept its fingers on residential trends in the region in order to come up with these design innovations.
Meanwhile, the company’s commercial collection—Formica for More—boasts eight themes (Purified Future, Expression, Nature Celebration, Modern Classic, Culture Modern, Urban Contemporary, Ancient Heritage and Rich Gratification) and 38 new décors.
Growing Philippine market
Formica’s annual sales in the country are estimated to be 80 percent commercial and 20 percent residential, said Divine Briones, the company’s country sales manager. However, the latter is expected to become an important segment of the company’s Philippine operations, as residential construction is on full swing. Briones said that construction in the residential sector is expected to grow 6.2 percent in 2018 and 2019, from 5.3 percent in 2017.
The company’s remarkable growth in the Philippines can also be attributed to the buoyant commercial real-estate sector, which is sustained by various industries, including business-process outsourcings, retail, hotels and casinos, wellness and others. According to Briones, Formica’s new customers in the Philippines include Alorica and Wells Fargo, while its existing clients for new branches or offices and renovations include Accenture, SM, Robinsons, Jollibee, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, BPI, SSS, Bench, Union Bank, the Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Okada Manila, DoubleDragon Properties and PNB.
The next few years will also be big for Formica, especially in Asia, according to Michel. The company is gunning for a 12-percent growth in 2019 for the region, and there are plans to increase its production capacity, invest in more research and development capabilities, and launch new products in Asia. In the Philippines, Formica plans to expand operations to Cebu and Davao to take advantage of these cities’ growth in construction activities.
Sustainability is also fast becoming as the company mantra not just in terms of design and products, but also on how it operates. “In recent years, we have been promoting safe environment for our workers, safe materials for our customers, and we strive to have zero carbon footprint on the environment.”