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Abdollah Ahrari

 

The present article is written by Mr. Abdollah Ahrari, a carpet expert and lecturer in the Islamic Azad University of Birjand, about patterns, images and colors demanded in the markets of Iran, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, USA, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, UAE, Canada, Denmark. We intend to publish it serially in the next issues for you, beloved readers of the magazine.

Abstract of article

The needs, wishes and inclinations of consumers and customers of the World market of handmade carpets have been important challenges of the Iranian carpet during the recent half a century. The traditional procedures of manufacture and generally production of handmade carpets in home workshops being scattered all over Iran, traditional system governing on the market of handmade carpets, and failure to use modern technologies are reasons for which the handmade carper community uses seldom modern marketing sciences to develop or, at least, stabilize considerably Iranian shares in the World markets of carpet. Fast changes in the consumption pattern of households, appearance of new economic poles all over the World, new diplomatic arrangements and relationships, and, the most important one, variety seeking of the humankind, requires knowledge of needs and tastes the World market of carpet. In this article, first the most important countries importing the Iranian market are identified and the share of each destination market of the Iranian carpet is determined. Then, public wishes and inclinations in each one of such markets, in particular in terms of pattern, image and color configuration, are analyzed. The article pays attention to wishes and inclinations of consumers of each destination market and other parameters effective on the international market, such as economic level, diplomatic relationships, place of handmade markets in the consumption baskets of households in order to provide efficient solutions to be used by the handmade carpet community, particularly manufacturers, merchants and exporters of the Iranian carpet.

Preface

The handmade carpet as an artistic industrial product has its roots in the Iranian history, and most Iranian households are accustomed with it. Most nations of the World remember the word “carpet” with the name of Iran and vice versa. This industrial art is particularly important in various terms such as economic, social, cultural and artistic because of the following:

  1. Although the added value of 9% of the National Gross Production is not economically so considerable in the macro-economy of the country, however it is of essential importance because of the distribution of IRR 3000 billion income between 2 million households mostly living economically under the poverty line and also because this industrial art completes agricultural and animal husbandry operations. It should be noted that roughly 30% of values of carpet products relates to their raw material.
  2. The handmade carpet share of non-oil exportation was always considerable and it has had the biggest share of non-oil exportation for the last 20 years, the average of which share was 25% during 1990s.
  3. In social terms 2 million job opportunities may solve a major part of employment problems of the country or keeping the existing jobs may prevent new employment crises under current circumstances. On the basis of latest available statistics, there are 1734400 direct jobs of carpet weaving with annually 167 days employment on average.
  4. In artistic and cultural terms too, the carpet industry leads somehow to the export of Iranian culture and sends messages of religion and revolution because of existing varied beautiful patterns produced by tastes and styles of Iranian artists always with the art of combining colors inspired by the nature of the Iranian lands by artist hands of the Iranian weaver, which were appreciated and evaluated by art loving eyes all over the World to be like miracles and because a major part of handmade carpets produced in the country are exported and most images on carpets are inspired by buildings, history, and religious beliefs of the Iranian people.

Obviously our country is a production center of handmade carpets. Such carpets are in varied patterns and styles and with different images and, therefore, they may satisfy a considerable part of demands and tastes of the World market.

In-bulk and untargeted production of carpets may increasingly reduce carpet prices in the World markets. When carpet production leads to poverty, naturally financial and cultural poverty of weavers will contribute to their inclination to weave low quality cheap carpets.

Targeted manufacture in accordance with orders and demands of the market will contribute to the financial and technical feasibility of weaving carpets and prevents loss of financial resources. In such systems of production, all production elements enjoy reasonable profits.

If we want to have a targeted production of carpets we are to use the modern marketing science. Carpet marketers may opt different ways to affect inclinations of consumers and to encourage buyers towards handmade carpets.

According to Dr. Sobheh we should accept that World markets see handmade carpets as consumable and decorative products rather than capital ones. Furthermore, there are now many alternatives for handmade carpets, such as moquette, parquet, furniture … Drastic changes occurred even in carpet buyers all over the World. Old buyers of carpets had full knowledge of carpet and were ready to pay more prices to buy handmade carpets and we may say that weaving techniques such as count of rows and knot types .. were important for them. Such buyers looked for durable carpets which may be even preserved for posterity. Such buyers didn’t approach with their wives and bought carpets alone.

Nonetheless, new buyers in different destination markets whose descriptions are stated in the chapter of “Research findings” know nothing about carpets and do not care where a carpet has been woven, nor is the type of headband of great importance for them. Instead they search for colors and modes. Furthermore, most of such buyers are of the opinion that handmade carpets are temporary consumables. Contrary to the preceding generation, such buyers look more for inexpensive carpets   but beautiful in terms of color configuration, pattern and images. And again contrary to the preceding generation, such buyers take not only their wives but also their decorators and designers to the market.  Therefore, these are decorators and designers who choose carpets to be bought. For this reason, carpet manufacturers in the province should bear this issue in mind when producing carpets. The most important factors increasing added values are color configuration and layout, which are to be inevitably consistent with tastes of target markets. After the color layout, the important factors are patterns and images of carpets. Today contrary to the past most markets do not demand crowded patterns.

In addition changes in buyers, the carpet seller guild altered too. Old sellers were mostly experts and shop owners, knew well clients, had gathered experience by a long time working as a trainer, and had a grasp of carpet issues so that they dictated the client what to buy. On the other hand, most new sellers are not carpet experts, and they do not buy or sell carpets by themselves, because they do not know much about carpets. They provide the buyers with pamphlets of information about carpets. Therefore, buyers don’t trust them. Now carpets are supplied not only in specialty stores but also in all big stores of home appliances.

Instead of knowing technical points of carpets, current sellers of carpets have a good grasp of market psychology to overcome buyers’ tastes and thoughts to increase sales. Moreover, now Internet shops and virtual warehouses play active roles in selling carpets. Satellite TV channels are also places where carpet selling may be promoted.

Previously produced carpets were mainly made of excellent raw material, had relatively satisfactory qualities and were woven by professional weavers with mainly crowded and tiresome patterns and had admirers. There was not a lot of variety in colors of produced carpets. Dark blue and crimson were mainly prevalent colors of such carpets. Bright colors were avoided because they were not dingy. It was of importance where such carpets were woven. If they were not sold, the weaver was sure that tomorrow it will be sold with a higher price. However, now any type of carpet is woven with any type of raw material. In most cases, the weavers have no affection for woven carpets and are weaving carpets to make a living. Rather than crowded patterns of Lachak Toranj, one is weaving mainly not crowded easy patterns, big Shah Abbasi flowers with colors of chocolate, bright brown, cedarn green, golden, ivory, buff, dark grey, and silvery. Advantages of a good carpet are color layout, pattern, drawing and suitable price.

Fortunately, changes happened in the mode and decoration of houses in most target markets leading to the less use of moquettes. Most houses have parquets and ceramics and need, therefore, more handmade carpets. If we pay attention to demands and requests of clients in target markets, the province share of world carpet market will certainly increase.

 

Therefore this article tries to describe each one of target markets.

Germany:

Germany is one of the biggest importers of the Iranian handmade carpets, so that it allocated 48.8% of the weight and 40% of the value of carpets exported by our country in 1996. The Germany’s share of handmade carpets exported in 2005 was 22.6% in terms of weight and 19.4% in terms of value. During the first 8 months of the Iranian year 1385 (i.e. April to November 2006), Germany was for the first time the 2nd importer of Iranian carpets after USA (27.5% of weight and 23% of value). It is important to know tastes and demands of the carpet market of Germany for several reasons: 1st, the people of this country, particularly those in the western regions are admirers of the Iranian carpet; 2nd, Germany and particularly its Hamburg port is the warehouse of handmade carpets, and handmade carpets are exported to many European countries through that port; 3rd, the biggest exhibition of Iranian handmade carpets, named Demotex, is organized in the first month of every year of Gregorian calendar in Hanover, Germany. Therefore it is so important to know tastes and demands of this target market of the Iranian carpet. Manufacturers of carpets particularly producers and weavers of Khorasan Razavi Province are requested to pay attention to points as follows:

  1. Colors: In general, mild colors are welcomed more in Germany. However, carpets whose colors are mainly dark blue, crimson or beige are sent via this country to other World markets.
  2. Pattern: Khorasan Baluch, various mixed fish, Mashhad Afshan, Naein, and in general, all Iranian traditional patterns are demanded in this country.
  3. Dimensions: This market demands short sizes up to maximum 6 m2 and seldom 12 m2.
  4. Raw material: Demotex experience showed that a producer may have good maneuvers in this market who uses excellent raw material, particularly excellent Iranian wools (Baluch, Sirjan, Kermanshah and Ghashghaei) and natural paints to produce handmade carpets and who deliberately observe the above when producing carpets.
  5. Texture: This market is fond of commercial thick carpets, so that during the first 8 months of the current year 20.8% of Iranian carpets, however 16.3% in terms of value, were exported to this country. Nonetheless, such figures were 2.1% of weight and 8.5% of value of Iranian carpets for UAE. This shows that the German market demands commercial carpets with average prices. Producers of carpets with 30 to 40 rows and above details may be well successful in this market.

Japan

Because of having a considerable population with high incomes and the tradition of sitting on the floor and using parquets, Japan is a big importer of handmade carpets. Exports of manufacturing countries of carpets to Japan were had always an increasing trend. China, Pakistan, Iran and India had respectively the highest exports of handmade carpets to this country. Although Iranian handmade carpets exported to Japan account for 2.1% of the weight of carpets produced in Iran, however such figure is 6.4% in terms of value. During the first 8 months of the year 1385 (i.e. April to November), Iranian carpets exported to Japan are 2.8% and 7.4% respectively in terms of weight and value. In connection with the market of handmade carpets in Japan one should take into consideration points as follows:

First, there are low price and suitable silks in china, so Chinese and even Indian manufacturers may export commercial silk carpets at low prices to this country. Naturally, it is very difficult for Iranian producers to compete in this field, except we may produce silk carpets which are distinguished from those of others especially the Chinese. Second, because of similar cultures of the two countries of China and Japan and when the two countries have good diplomatic relationships, naturally traditional Chinese images are admired by a significant part of the Japanese. Third, the Japanese like in most cases small sizes like their own heights. Therefore, one should send to this market carpets to be consistent with its architecture. In view of the above, the points to be observed by exporters and producers or carpets for the Japanese market are as follows:

  1. Color: The Japanese are fond of happy colors such as crème, golden, happy r red, yellow, jade green, green, bright blue and yogurt. In general they like their carpet to have mild colors.
  2. Pattern: This market supports patterns of tree and vase of Ghom, Esfahan Afshan Lachak Toranj, various and different patterns of Tabriz, Mashhad Golfarang, Kashmar, mixed fish with tiny textures.
  3. Dimensions: As it was told most Japanese live in 50-70 m2 apartments. Therefore, this market needs small and curtain sizes and maximum 6 m2.
  4. Raw material: Excellent silk or fine wool and particularly fine durable wool are to be used for this market.
  5. Texture: This market has no place for average or low quality and commercial textures. Quality of carpet is so important to them. They demand in general tiny texture carpets.

 

Switzerland

In spite of its small size and low population, Switzerland was always among the 5 biggest importers of handmade carpets all over the World.

The Swiss people have the highest per capita rate of consuming handmade carpets, so that almost all the people of this country are owners and buyers of handmade carpets and always with an increasing trend. The business trend of the handmade carpets in this country is indebted to activities of Iranian merchants who dealt in Iranian carpets in ports such as Zurich and Imbrach. Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, China, Morocco, Tunisia, Nepal and Egypt are among countries exporting carpets to Switzerland. The Iranian share of the market in this country had a descending trend since 1980s because competing countries particularly China, India and Pakistan used prices and cost marketing strategies. The Iranian carpet had always highest prices in this country, so that in 2002, when the Iranian share was 9.6% in this country, Iran allocated to itself 28.6% of the market of this country in terms of value. Anyhow, the three countries of Iran, India and Pakistan always supplied more than 60% of carpets needed by Switzerland. This country’s share of Iranian carpets was 3.3% in terms of weight and 3.8% in terms of value in 2005. In addition, during the first 8 month of the current Iranian year, such figures are respectively 3.6% and 3.8%. This shows supply of average commercial carpets to this country. Therefore, carpet exporters to Switzerland should strictly take into account cost prices of supplied carpets. The most important points to be paid attention to about the market of handmade carpets in this country are as follows:

  1. Color: The Swiss market of handmade carpets likes more dull, mild and soft colors especially natural old colors, colors such as onion skin, crème, dark blue.
  2. Pattern: Not crowded and big flower patters of Naein, Fars gabbeh, Esfahan patterns and images, Tabriz, Birjand mixed fish, Lachak Toranj and Afshan of Mashhad, and finally, various old carpets are demanded by the market of this country.
  3. Dimensions: Average dimensions such as curtain sizes, 2 * 2.5, 2 * 2, 1.7 * 2.10 and seldom 9 m2 are needed by this market.
  4. Raw material: One may succeed in this market by using wool of Iranian sheep, particularly Ghashghaei, Baluch, Kermanshah and other similar races, as well as natural paints.
  5. Texture: Although they discern well, however they prefer mainly carpets with suitable prices and color layout is mainly important to them. Nonetheless, regarding old carpets, they pay attention to their tiny textures. They want excellent products as regards rugs.

USA

During recent decades, USA was the 2nd importer of handmade carpets in terms of both the weight and value. During 2 or 3 past years this country became the biggest consumer of handmade carpets. High per capital income, geographical location, new architecture styles and particularly using ceramics … in architecture, high population and variety of tastes are reasons for which the trend of using handmade carpets in the carpet market of USA have continuously been increasing since 1975. While around 10% of carpets manufactured in the carpet producing countries were sold in this country in 1980, roughly 40% of handmade carpets of India, 40-50% of Pakistani carpets, 35% of Nepali carpets, 60-70% of Chinese carpets, 35-40% of Turkish carpets, and finally, 20-25% of the Iranian carpets are now exported to this country. Before economic US sanctions against Iran, 7 biggest countries exporting carpets to USA were India, China, Pakistan, Iran, Romania and Turkey. Carpets were and are imported to USA is directly from carpet producing countries or indirectly through Germany, France or Canada. In a past time not so long ago (1975) Iran was in possession of 42.5%, in terms of value, of the carpet market of this country. However, a set of carpet factors caused the US market of carpets to become a monopoly of China, India and Pakistan, particularly during the economic sanctions against Iran. After failure of sanctions, some Iranian goods are gradually regaining their past places in US market. Although it enjoyed no desirable trend, however, during the first 8 months of the current year, this country was the biggest importer of Iranian carpet. It allocated to itself 27.5%, in terms of weight, and 23%, in terms of price, of Iranian carpets. The important issues to be paid attention to are (1) This country is one of the most important selling centers of commercial carpets and almost all patterns and images are sold in this market because of variety of tastes. However, in order to achieve the carpet market of USA or at least to regain the past Iranian 44% share of carpets, we should, according to Mr. Dr. Sobheh, pay special attention to some part of those 100 people (experts, …, decorators), and (2) In view of the special place of Iranian exporters in this country, we should use their influences to develop the market of Iranian handmade carpet.

The beloved exporters and producers of carpets who opt this country as their target market are requested to pay attention to the main tastes and needs of its people as follows:

  1. Color: Using a variety of colors and following colors of furniture covers, curtains and generally decoration of house, particularly application of colors such as chocolate, bright brown, bright green, golden, ivory, buff, dark grey, silvery, crème, and in general the prefer bright colors to the dark ones.
  2. Pattern: The current US market prefers mainly not crowded and easy patterns of Afshan, Sarasar, Ashayeri, and Shah Abbasi with big flowers. A special place is given in this market to patterns and images of Haris and Moshkabad and various Gabbehs of Farsi, Ghom, Naein, Esfahan, Bijar, Harati, and Afshan of Khorasan if one meets the principles of not crowded and easy patterns.
  3. Dimensions: This market needs small, medium and large sizes up to 40 m2. However one should try not to produce sizes larger than 9 m2, except when prior orders have been placed. There are various immigrants from different races in US markets. Therefore, it needs all sizes, such as rug, small carpets, curtain carpets, 2 * 3 m, and in some cases 3 * 4 m, 4 * 6 m or 5 * 8 m.
  4. Raw material: It is recommended to use for this market wools of various Iranian sheep consistently with count of rows, fineness of carpet, and excellent silk and finally natural paints with chromic and metallic colors from chemical paints.
  5. Texture: In this case too, there is a variety of tastes in this market. Local traditional weaved products are of particular importance to them, so is the thickness of carpets. The middle-aged and old generations are usually fond of traditional carpets with high numbers of rows; however, lower counts of rows, color layouts and prices are of importance to the new generation.

Finally, the Iranian producers and exporters should adopt strategies which are consistent with the market of commercial and high quality carpets of this country.

 

Great Britain

In a past time not so long ago the Great Britain and particularly London played the same role that Germany and Hamburg port plays in connection with handmade carpets, and a collection of carpets of the World with highest qualities were supplied in this market. Many countries procuring nowadays carpets from Hamburg went in the past to London and carpets were sent from this city to European countries. Nonetheless, during recent years because of the above and demographic issues, the carpet market of England became dull. In 1999, six important carpet producing countries exported 1505911 m2 carpets to this country as follows: Iran: 281101 m2; India: 274276 m2; Nepal: 30096 m2: Pakistan: 148455 m2; China: 275995 m2; Turkey: 282909 m2 and the remainder is related to other countries. During 1960s to 1980s, 80% of carpets imported to this country were re-exported. However, after 1980s, the re-exportation of carpets was highly reduced. During recent years good successes were enjoyed in the market of this country by countries with low inflation rates which managed to have, in one way or another, lower cost prices. China, Pakistan and India are amongst such countries. During the years 2004-5, the Great Britain was the selling location of 4% of Turkish carpets, 2.5% of Nepali carpets, 5% of Pakistani carpets and 7% of Chinese carpets, which fact shows that the people of this country care about prices. In 2005 and during the first 8 months of current Iranian year (April to November) respectively 2.4% and 3%, in terms of weight, and 1.8% and 2.4%, in terms of value, of carpets of our country were exported to this country. The proportions between weight and value figures show that this country is more suitable for commercial carpets with appropriate prices. In a simpler comparison, during 2005, the carpets exported to this country were of the same weight as Japan, however with a value one third of those exported to the latter.

Therefore, the beloved ones who produce carpets for the Great Britain are request to pay attention to points as follows:

  1. Color: Similar to US market, they follow the date mode in terms of color layouts and like the color of their carpet to be matched with colors of furniture covers, curtains and building. Special buyers who have a sound grasp of carpets are interested in natural mild colors.
  2. Pattern: They are interested in traditional patterns of Ghashghaei and Kurdistan particularly Bijar, Golfarang, Baluch, Esfahan, Ghom, Tabriz, Kashmar Zirkhaki, Mashhad Afshan, Hamedan and specially not crowded patterns of Shiraz.
  3. Dimensions: Small and medium size carpets, curtain carpets and side carpets are demanded with sizes of 2 * 3 m, 2 * 2.5 m, 3.1 * 2.7 m, in low quantities 3 * 4 m, 3 * 3 m and 2.5 * 3.5 m.
  4. Raw material: To weave commercial carpets interested in by this market it is adequate to use a combination of various Iranian wools, so that the cost price is reasonable and, however, they are of necessary qualities. The producers are to focus mostly on color layouts. Nonetheless, production and supply of low price and cheap carpets by Iranian producers will damage fame of the Iranian carpet, and will not provide for expectations of Iranian weavers (regarding making an acceptable living).
  5. Texture: In the British market carpet prices play substantial roles. However, for certain consumers, high counts of rows and shining are considered to be important matters. There are also many customers for antique carpets.

Italy

Italy has always been one of the three most important importers of Iranian handmade carpets. This country imported 737000 m2 hand made carpets with a value of 58095 thousand dollars from different countries, something in the order of 50% of which was imported from Pakistan and Iran and the remainder from, in descending order, India, Turkey, China and Afghanistan. In 1999, something in the order of 2382607 m2  carpets (equivalent to roughly 10% of the global market of carpets or 14% of the European carpet market) were imported to Italy, of which roughly 1462386 m2 were supplied by Iran and the remainder from countries such as China, Pakistan, India, Turkey …, which countries were in lower places. In 2005, this country this country was with 9.1% in terms of weight in the 3rd place amongst buyers of Iranian carpets after Germany and USA and with 8.6% in terms of value in the 4th place after Germany, USA and UAE. In fact, the weight of carpets exported is around 4 times carpets exported to UAE. However, in terms of value, UAE is in a higher place than Italy. During the 1st 8 months of the Iranian year 1385 (i.e. April to November 2006), this country’s share of Iranian carpet exportation was 1.5% in terms of weight or 9.4% in terms of value. This means that the carpet market of this country demands mainly commercial carpets. In connection with the Italian market, we should take into account that amongst European countries Italy has the most appropriate diplomatic relationship with our country. Therefore, such appropriate diplomatic relationships should be used to expand exportation of carpets.

Carpets sent to the Italian market with sale purposes should be of characteristics as follows:

  1. Color: People living north of this country like mainly dark colors, such as dark blue, crimson, camel … On the other hand, southern cities are fond of lively colors such as crème, pink, golden, bright green …
  2. Pattern: Contrary to many countries, there are still many supporters of crowded patterns in this country particularly in northern regions. Not crowded patterns are more supported in the southern regions. They are interested in tribal carpets of all regions of Iran as well as traditional patterns of Kashan, Naein, Esfahan and areas all of Iran.
  3. Dimensions: This market is interested in small and medium size carpets in particular those with curtain dimensions and with an area of 6 m2.
  4. Texture: Carpet buyers are divided into two classes in this country. One class is that of special buyers who are mainly interested in antique carpets. Such carpets should be of good design and colors and have also excellent raw material and special textures. A major considerable part of Italian customers are also those who take into account color layout of carpets and its consistency with decoration and their appropriate prices.

 

Sweden

The Kingdom of Sweden with an area of 449000 km2 and a population of roughly 9 million allocated to itself something of the order of 3% of the European carpet market. This country imported 389000 m2 carpet in 1999, of which 136314 m2 was imported from Iran, 149091 m2 from India, 44523 m2 from Pakistan, 311050 m2 from China, 9131 m2 from Nepal, 3676 m2 from Turkey, and the remainder from other countries of the World.

This country allocated to itself 1.8% and 1.2% of carpet exportation of Iran respectively in terms of weight and value in 2005. Such figures were maintained with an increase by 0.1% in terms of both weight and value during the first 8 months of the Iranian year 1385 (April to November 2006). We should take into account the following about the Swede market: (1) Sweden has always had wider economic and diplomatic relations with our country than Denmark and Norway. (2) The Iranian carpet is amazingly consistent with the climate of this country. The Swedes have been accustomed with the Iranian carpet since the old times and this country is one of the most important centers of supplying and selling old carpets. The carpet buyers are divided into two major classes in this country: The first group constitutes middle-aged and old generations of this country who are mainly from the noble and wealthy class. They look for old carpets of Arak, Bakhtiar, Farahan, Hamedan, Ghaltough and Haris as well as Ghashghaei and Baluch tribal carpets. Although there are few people in this group of buyers, however the volume of financial resources spent is not little. Nonetheless, the 2nd group of consumers of carpets in this country involves the youth who don’t value excellent expensive carpets and are mainly interested in buying commercial carpets with appropriate prices and, of course, good color layouts. Carpet producers in Iran should pay good attention to such tastes of buyers in the Danish market. In view of the above, the most important points to be paid attention by carpet procures who want to supply their  products in this market are as follows:

  1. Color: Too dark colors have no place in this market. This market is interested in bright colors something like color layouts of Ghashghaei or old classic colors.
  2. Pattern: This market is interested in traditional Iranian patterns especially Farahan, Sarough, Moshkabad, Mahal, Mashhad, Esfahan, Tabriz, Haris, Hamedan and Zanjan as well as tribal carpets, but no in image and hunting-ground patterns.
  3. Dimensions: Small size dimensions such as small, curtain and side carpets as well as carpets of no more than 6.5 m2 are needed in this market, because the built areas of houses of people in this country are of small sizes too.
  4. Raw material: From the view point of the Swedish buyers and consumers, the best wool used in carpet weaving is the wool of the Iranian sheep. Use of waste or foreign wools leads to losing our share of the Swedish carpet market.
  5. Texture: Weaving techniques are of relative importance for old buyers. Nonetheless, new buyers are interested in the matters of price and color layout.

UAE

UAE with an area of 83600 km2 and a population of roughly 3 million and a race composition of 45% from India and Pakistan, 25% Arab, 17% Iranian, and the rest from other countries is one of the most important terminals of importing and exporting goods from/to the farthest reaches of the World. Since independence in 1971, this country has always tried to be a commercial pole in the Middle East. Exactly for adopting such strategy, this country managed to have a significant economic prosperity during recent years. Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are two important commercial centers of this country. This country is the most important buyer of Iranian carpets, in terms of both weight and value, amongst the Islamic countries. In fact some part of the most excellent and most expensive Iranian carpets particularly in view of using precious raw material is exported to this country. 2.2% and 9% of Iranian carpets, respectively in terms of weight and value, were exported to this country in 2005. During the first 8 months of the Iranian year 1385 (April to November 2006) Iranian carpets something in the amount of the previous year were exported to this country. In addition to satisfying its domestic needs, UAE may also export Iranian carpets. About this country, it should be noted as follows:

Firstly, a significant part of wealthy Iranians are living in this country and needs Iranian carpets. Secondly, among Persian Gulf countries, UAE has always had good diplomatic and economic relations with Iran and, although it claims to own three Iranian islands, however, there were never major tensions in the ties of the two countries. Thirdly, it is interested in buying carpets which other competing countries have no major ability to supply. Fourthly, major suppliers of carpet in this country are of Iranian origin and we need nothing except to bolster their nationalistic feelings.

It is necessary to recommend exporters of carpets to UAE as follows:

  1. Color: This market is interested in lively bright colors in particular crème and all reddish colors especially crimson of Mashhad, dark blue and indigo.
  2. Pattern: UAE citizens demand carpets of Afshan Toranj of Ghom, patterns of Naein, Tabriz, as well as vase and tree patterns. Furthermore, it is one of few Arabic countries where there is sale of carpet tableaus, because of the considerable Iranian Population it has.
  3. Dimensions: In this respect it is almost similar to the carpet of Saudi Arabia. Small, medium and large size carpets have good customers in this market. Excellent small size carpets are usually used by wealthy immigrants living in apartments and large size carpets such as carpets with areas 1000 to 6000 m2 are used for religious buildings and royal palaces. Producers should be noted that they should inevitably receive orders before beginning the production of carpets larger than 12 m2.
  4. Raw material: They are interested more in silk carpets, because this country is extremely hot and humid. Therefore, they are interested in Cheleh Abrisham and Gol Abrishami carpets in particular when they are 100% made of silk.
  5. Texture: This market is interested in excellent and prime handmade carpets. We should strictly avoid importing cheap or low price commercial carpets, because every low quality carpet takes place of an excellent one.

 

Lebanon

Lebanon with an area of 10452 km2 and a population of roughly 4 million is one of the greenest courtiers in the Middle East. It is an important market of handmade carpets. 80% of population of this country is Lebanese and the rest are Palestinian, Armenian, Syrian or Kurd. Furthermore, in terms of religion, 40% of the people of this country are Shiite, 27% Sunni, 16% Maronite, 7% Druze and 16% Orthodox. Beirut, as the bride of the Middle East, has always been an important tourism pole. Regarding Lebanon, too, we should take into account several points: Firstly, the people of this country are very interested in the Iranians. Maybe we have the most influence in this country amongst the Islamic countries. Secondly, as it was stated, the tourism industry of Lebanon, Beirut in particular, has a special place. Therefore, this country may also, like UAE, be a terminal for carpets to go to many European countries. Thirdly, in order to obtain incomes, many Lebanese people emigrate to other countries particularly to European countries and return back to their own country to spend the same. In 2005, the Lebanon’s share of exported carpets of our country was like share of countries such as Sweden with 1.9% in terms of weight but it was 2.4% in terms of value, i.e. almost equal to France. Of course you know well that France has not little diplomatic influence in Lebanon. Because of the existing political crises, the importation of carpets to this country decreased during first 8 months of the Iranian year 1385 (i.e. April to November 2006). Consequently, importation of the Iranian carpets to this country is 1.1% and 1.3% respectively in terms of weight and value. Carpets of Khorasan Razavi Province, particularly Kurdish and Baluch carpets have special places in this market. Therefore, it may be one of the target markets of producers and exporters of this province.

The most important things about the Lebanese market that should be paid attention to by exporters of carpets are as follows:

  1. Color: This market is interested in dark and mild colors especially something like crimson, crème, dark blue, cornelian red, madder red, and sun aged colors.
  2. Pattern: Lebanon counts as one of the most important of markets of tribal carpets, such as Baluch, Kurd, Ghashghaei and Turkmen. Furthermore, this market is interested in patterns of Lachak Toranj and Afshan of Mashhad, Naein and Tabriz as well as old and traditional Iranian carpets.
  3. Dimensions: 100% wool tribal carpets are interesting there. Regarding urban carpets it seems that use of excellent Iranian wool is considered to be an advantage.
  4. Texture: The clients of handmade carpets in Lebanon are also divided into two groups. A significant part of the Lebanese people don’t care about t he texture and care more about prices. However, there are a group of wealthy people of this country who demand fine texture carpets with high count of rows.

Canada

With an area of 9,970,610 km2, Canada is the second biggest country. However, in terms of population, with roughly 5 million people, who are mainly French, English, German, Italian and Chinese, it is considered to be the 32nd country. English and French are the official languages of this country. 83.5% of its population is Christian, and the rest is composed of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. One of the important factors causing this country to become a major importer of the Iranian carpets is developments of the US market. Exports of Iranian carpets to this country were around 5000 m2 in 1980. After US economic sanctions, the importation of Iranian carpets by Canada increased considerably during four years to be re-exported to USA.  This caused importation of the Iranian carpets to this country to have a growth of 30 times and to reach to 150000 m2 within no longer than 10 years. In 1992, 249000 m2 Iranian carpet was exported to Canada to be placed with 18.7% in the 3rd position after India with 41.5% and china with 24.5%, and to surpass Pakistan with 14.7% and Turkey with 1%. Nil Ki Moran, editor in chief of Canadian Handmade Carpet Magazine believes that there are three important factors for such amazing growth to be knowledge of exporters of the Iranian handmade carpets about necessity of opening new markets to sell carpets because of limited demands of European countries and immigration of many Iranians to the north American countries after the Revolution (such as families of Mojtahedi, Ziaei, Zia Khosrowshahi, Gheisary brothers, Kourhani … and finally, Iranian graduates), and finally, economic sanctions against Iran imposed by Reagan administration (Donya-ye Farsh Magazine, issue No. 17, third year, February 1996). Holding exhibitions in Toronto instead of Atlanta is a result of such three factors. From the three above factors, only one has already been removed. However the two others still continue to be in effect more powerfully. For this, Canada allocated to itself 5.1% and 3.5% of exportation of the Iranian carpets respectively in terms of weight and value in 2005. During the first 8 months of the current Iranian year too, it allocated to itself 4.6% and 3.4% of exportation of Iranian carpets respectively in terms of weight and value. Comparing the shares in weight and value of the exported carpets show that price is of importance for the people of this country and that a considerable part of carpets exported to this country should be commercial carpets with reasonable prices. The most important characteristics of the Canadian carpet market are as follows:

  1. Color: The old generation is mainly interested in dull opaque colors in shades of crimson, dark blue and crème. Nonetheless, young buyers wish carpets to be matched with colors of curtains and furniture.
  2. Pattern: Afshan and Lachak Toranj patterns of Esfahan, Ghom and Naein and Tiny Fish of Birjand, various big flower and not crowded patterns of shah Abbasi are interesting for young buyers of this country.
  3. Dimensions: All sizes special curtain ones and 6 m2 are needed.
  4. Raw material: It is recommended to use Iranian wools.
  5. Texture: It is important only for the wealthy class of Canada. The younger ones care more about color layouts.

Denmark

The Kingdom of Denmark with an area of 43094 km2 and a population of roughly 6 million people, the majority of whom are of Danish race and Christian, is a country of Scandinavia, having the 2nd place of importing Iranian carpets after Sweden. This country allocated to itself 1.28% of handmade carpets imported to the European Union importing around 208201 m2 handmade carpets in 1999, in connection with which Iran is in the first place with 95677 m2, and the next places were occupied by India: 63818 m2, Pakistan: 28579 m2, Turkey: 11917 m2 and China: 1711 m2. This country allocated in 2005 to itself 2.3% and 1.9% respectively in terms of weight and value of Iranian carpets. There have been many fluctuations in the diplomatic and economic relationships with our country and they were more instable than Sweden. During the first 8 months of the current Iranian year, this country’s share of exported Iranian carpets is 2% and 1.9% respectively in terms of weight and value. As handmade carpets have been changed from capital to consumable products in particular amongst the youth, therefore, we encounter two groups of consumers in this country. The first group is composed of middle aged and old people demanding excellent traditional carpets with good qualities as well as good color layouts, patterns and drawings. However, in the opinion of the 2nd group of buyers of Iranian handmade carpets, a good carpet should have good appearance. Furthermore, old carpets also have a special place in the Danish market.

The most characteristic of the Danish carpet market is that they like very dark colors.

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Middle East Textile Journal

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