İbrahim BURKAY

President / Uludağ Textile Exporters Association
President / Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Today, Turkey is one of the first countries that come to mind in world markets when home textiles and contract business are mentioned. Turkish Home Textile and Turkish Contract Business Industry provide top quality in all respects, from production to promotion and from quality standards to marketing. This success has been achieved by focusing on high added value, design and brand quality as part of Turkey’s export boosting strategy.

We need to adjust to some of the changes in the global market: Twenty years ago the world was less complicated. Developing countries possessed a much smaller stake in the global economy and prosperity than that of today. The last twenty years things have changed a lot. Today, developing countries no longer play the role of passive participants. On the contrary, they have become much more active catalysts of globalization. In the past, foreign direct investment went from developed countries to the developing. Now, emerging markets are investing in advanced countries. In the past, developing countries attempted to sell low-cost goods to more developed countries. Now, every one of the developing countries themselves is a market for the upper segment. Today, at important events in both the home textile and the contract textile industry, for example in Istanbul, Shanghai, and Moscow, there are participants from all over the world. It is becoming more and more obvious that expectations and perceptions are being re-shaped both in developed economies and new emerging economies within the home textiles and contract textiles sector, such as those of Germany, Italy, USA, Turkey, China, and Russia.

When we have a look at the contract business market we see that the market is mature and highly competitive. The consumers are looking especially at value and quality. In design, production / technology, socially responsible behaviors etc. smaller and bigger brands alike are trying to be better. There is strong interest in products of contemporary design, and also in antiques and reproduction furniture. And also a market was created in the last few years for easy-care materials which are easy to clean and maintain. Big actors in the sector are faced with increased demands for higher quality and environmentally and socially responsible products, with improved design. This will demand a lot from the production process, which may have to change to meet all the demands of the consumers.

Another important trend is shortening of the distribution chain in order to cut costs, especially for the larger organizations. Additionally many importers, whether they are retailers, importer/wholesalers or agents, ask for exclusivity when they buy a product. The reason is to reduce the possibility of the appearance of the same product on the market in other retail outlets.

Furthermore we know that perceptions have changed in the past few decades. Twenty or thirty years ago people were searching for greater comfort in their own homes amongst other places. The desired home designs were found in hotels and so on. Over the past twenty years this trend has changed a lot. Now designers concentrate on bolder and more radical home designs. Style has gained great significance. We are creating and applying sophisticated interiors to hotels and other places which people strongly desire but are reluctant to apply in home design. The identity of a place is critical. Designs and production are now harmonized with identity and expectations. On the other hand, classical forms, tones, and styles continue to maintain their status.

At the end of 2015, the total exports of textile and clothing of Turkey is recorded as 25 billion USD. Total textile exports of Turkey are 8 billion USD. Total Home Textile exports of Turkey are recorded as 2,7 billion USD. Towels, bed sheets, curtain fabric, bathrobes, the other furnishing articles, curtains, interior blinds, curtain and bed valances and upholstery fabrics are the main export articles.

Today, Turkish Home Textile companies are intensively exporting to countries such as the Russian Federation, Germany, Romania, Iran, the U.K., Italy, Poland, Morocco, Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ukraine, and others; more than 190 countries and regions spanning every continent.

Uludag Textile Exporters’ Association (UTIB), for a long time have been organizing many business activities such as national participations to international fairs, informative meetings, trade delegations, buyers missions, international project markets, conferences, special reports, workshops etc. in Turkey and in many other countries. UTIB’s 2015-2016 international fair schedule includes Heimtextil Frankfurt, Evteks, Intertextile Shanghai, Heimtextil Russia, International Observatory Como, COHO Contract Hotel Expo Bursa etc. UTIB is representing 1.200 exporter companies which are 40% specialized in home textile and contract Business production and has 1,2 billion US $ exports in 2015.  A magazine which is named “Contract Business" magazine is also being published by Uludag Textile Exporters Association (UTİB) aiming to advertise that Turkish contract supplier companies are able to meet the long term, wide range product needs of such facilities, places like; the luxury hotels , cafes, restaurants, schools, yachts, cruise ships, airplanes, hospitals and trains" via posting “Turkish Contract” supplier company profiles in magazine. Our magazine is distributed to 15,000 purchasing teams, worldwide.

In home textiles and contract textile business, as Turkey, at the point that we reached today, decorating a hotel in Berlin, furnishing a restaurant in Shanghai, completely providing the textile needs of a hospital in Moscow, to supplying seat coverings of a cafe in California is our business. Tens of thousands of people in many countries of the world, especially for high segment needs, use our products.

Together with all these positive developments, Uludag Textile Exporters Association continues to perform its important role in preserving Turkish Home Textile’s and Turkish Contract Business’ development and strength in world markets. The priority is to intensify R&D and bring out high added value through unique products. In this respect we know that better knowledge is foremost in today’s world and those who differentiate themselves and are able to procure higher quality are the elite in the global arena. The Uludag Textile Exporters' Association continues its projects in important countries identified as target markets for the Turkish Contract Textiles Sector.

In all these international home textile and contract business fairs people will continue to observe and attend UTIB Trend Areas, UTIB Contract Business Areas, and UTIB Hotel Room and Turkish House Areas etc.

As you may know, Turkish Exporters’ Assembly has aimed to reach a total of 500 billion USD exports (all commodities) by 2023. With respect to these policies, stakeholders and capabilities have been identified. Turkish Textile Sector is aiming to surpass 20 billion USD and Turkish Home Textile sector 10 billion USD exports by 2023.

With this respect one of the main goals of Turkish Home Textile Sector and Turkish Contract Business Sector is to strengthen its success in both traditional markets and in new markets with its own brands. The positive and strong relations with these global partners that Turkey has been pursuing have also been initiated between these countries’ industrialists and exporters. We believe that there is a lot that international trade partners will learn from each other and bilateral cooperation will create beneficial results.