Case study: Commodity plastics – Strategic research in Asia

Market potential assessment for Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber in China

The challenge
A non-governmental organization based in Canada was seeking to promote products from its forestry sector to international markets. Significant volumes of Canadian Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF) wood products were being imported into China to be used in non-appearance applications. However, there was a lack in understanding of the product usage and characteristics most valued by customers in this market segment.

The objectives of the study were to understand wood products manufacturers’ requirements for non-appearance lumber and the characteristics of their ideal material, which would assist Canadian sawmills in targeting this market.

The process
Spire conducted face-to-face in-depth interviews with wood products manufacturers, log/lumber trading companies and industry experts in Guangdong (Southern China), Tianjin, Dalian and Shandong Peninsula (North-Eastern China). Spire also carried out secondary research on public sources.

The results
Spire’s report provided estimates of likely demand for SPF wood of varying parameters, which were used as inputs by Canadian sawmills to determine if they should modify their production processes to address this potential.

Project deliverables included:

Current and future industry growth trends and government regulations relating to softwood logs and lumber in China

Current and forecasted market size potential for softwood lumber which may be substituted by SPF

Market segmentation by product uses, customer segments, usage parameters and wood species

Major species of wood used and purchased by wood products manufacturers and the major end uses for each specie

Common requirements and parameters for lumber used in the production of each end product among wood products manufacturers

Procurement requirements and decision making process of wood products manufacturers

Key supplier selection criteria and the importance of each criterion