I'm told its bad PR to admit that the hardwood market is down, so let's just say it's changing. This is quite a good way of putting it actually. I so often hear the question "when do you think there will be a recovery?" My answer...never. In my experience markets do not recover, they change.
In an economic downturn even robust markets like those for hardwoods will drop off. Stakeholders have a choice; they can either sit back and wait for the recovery or they can search for new opportunities. In a traditional industry there is always a belief that it's only a matter of time. Optimists sit back, waiting on the return of the good old days. The brave go for a more adventurous strategy and stand or fall on the outcome.
To me, survival in business is all about adaptation. As I say, markets don't recover, they change. What emerges after a downturn is a new business environment and it's never the same as it once was. Markets are forever in a state of flux with new products, trends, fashions and technology changing the shape of trade for ever more. If you wait for the recovery you miss the boat even if the market for your product does pick back up a little. I say it will never recover - not to previous levels anyhow.
The greatest trading companies change with the times. Even their core products can gradually fade away to be replaced by new ranges, that themselves will possibly only last until the next great downturn. The secret is to discover the right blend and keep your business vibrant and adaptive. This does not necessarily spell the end for traditional markets, like those for hardwoods, but it does position them firmly in the descent mode.