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CSIL World Furniture Outlook: positive forecast for the furniture sector
The first virtual edition of the CSIL "World Furniture Outlook" Seminar was held last November 30, attended by some 300 furniture professionals connecting from over 50 countries around the world. This year, Csil's experts presented not only the latest furniture industry report 2022, but also focused on individual sectors such as kitchen furniture, office furniture, upholstered furniture and mattresses.

In the end, four main points emerged from the Seminar: first of all, a positive demand context determined by the importance of home-related goods and by consumers' needs for comfort and reorganization of spaces. As far as product development is concerned, the demand for intelligent, multifunctional, customizable products that use innovative, sustainable materials and are based on the circular economy emerged.

Another point in evidence is the transformation of retail with the current presence of multiple distribution channels, online and offline, for which it will be increasingly necessary to rethink the distribution approach of companies. And finally, the strategies of evolving companies that will have to deal with uncertainties and price fluctuations, cooperation and competition along the value chain.


World Furniture Outlook 2022: positive forecasts

Alessandra Tracogna, Csil Senior Partner, presented the World Furniture Outlook 2022. According to CSIL data, the furniture industry doubled its volume between 2000 and 2021, reaching a global volume of approximately $500 million, which will be surpassed in 2022.  The global furniture market rebounded in 2021, with consumption values well above pre-pandemic levels. The pandemic has had very little effect on the furniture market, likely due to the fact that the lockdown experience has highlighted the importance of the home, which has gained a new centrality for both living and working.

About one third of world furniture production is destined for export. Exports have been an important growth engine for the sector in recent years, and imports also continue to grow. In 2021, international furniture trade is back to double-digit growth. The leading exporting country is China, followed by Vietnam, Poland, Germany and Italy, and preliminary figures for 2021 show growth in furniture exports for all of these countries. Italy, where furniture consumption has been growing in double digits, is also showing a clear recovery.

Overall, for 2022 and 2023, Csil forecasts for world consumption in the sector are positive: for the world as a whole (100 countries), furniture consumption is expected to grow by about 4% (in real terms) in 2022. Among the large markets (over $5 billion in furniture consumption), the countries expected to have the biggest rebound in furniture consumption growth are European and Asian countries.


World market for mattresses: the evolution of consumption patterns

Giulia Taveggia, CSIL partner, focused her presentation on the global mattress market, a large market reaching nearly $30 billion.

In a ten-year perspective, mattress consumption has grown globally, driven in particular by a strong increase in the Asia Pacific region (mainly China and India). This area is now the largest consumer with a 40% weight in the global market and the highest per capita consumption growth.

Looking at the most recent trends, the negative impact of Covid on the mattress industry has been much smaller than in other sectors. This is due to two peculiarities of the mattress market: the first concerns people's greater attention to the quality of sleep, a growing trend already in recent years; the second is due to online sales channels, which have seen a rapid increase precisely during the pandemic.

According to Csil data, the online channel accounts for 20% of the mattress market. The United States is the largest market for online mattress sales, twice the size of China, which is the second largest market, but with a lower incidence of online sales. Europe follows, accounting for about 15% of the global online mattress market with Germany and the UK leading the way.


The upholstered furniture market: customizable and comfortable

The upholstered furniture market was instead analyzed by Matteo Grigolini, CSIL partner, who highlighted how this sector is worth about 70 billion dollars. The most important market is Asia Pacific followed by North America and Europe.

As far as trends are concerned, upholstered furniture is seeing an increasing demand for products that are sustainable to meet global challenges, intelligent, i.e. able to adapt to different consumer needs, versatile and customizable and, increasingly important, extremely comfortable.


The kitchen market: more than positive data

The floor was then passed to Aurelio Volpe, Csil Founding Partner, who presented his report on the kitchen furniture market.

World consumption of kitchen furniture (evaluated at production prices, excluding markups) was 55 billion dollars in 2020. Csil's preliminary estimate for the year 2021 shows a strong rebound, of 5.9%; about 2.4 million kitchens were exported during the year 2020. Looking at the ranking of major exporting countries, Italy holds the second position while China is in third place. Canada moves from fourth to sixth position, Malaysia from fifth to fourth, while Vietnam gains two positions and rises to fifth place. Germany remains by far the world's leading exporter of kitchen furniture, exporting $2.4 billion worth of kitchen furniture in 2020. In 2021, international trade in kitchen furniture is expected to grow by +6.2%.

Over the period 2012-2024, global kitchen furniture consumption is expected to grow from 22 million to about 30 million units. The growth of world trade in kitchen furniture is expected to be faster than overall world consumption of kitchen furniture.


Office furniture: towards a B2C market

Mauro Spinelli, Csil Senior Partner, closed the panel of speakers with an analysis of the office furniture market. In 2021, the global office furniture market grew to a value of about $50 billion, which means an increase of +10% at current prices over the previous year. The U.S. is recovering more slowly than average, while the European and Asia-Pacific markets are rebounding more.

Potential demand for office furniture is still limited due to low office occupancy rates and high levels of smart working activity. This situation has led to a redefinition of customer demand and consequently of products and market approach. From a B2B market we have moved in a few months to a B2C market; this is one of the major effects of the pandemic on the office furniture business.

Specifically, we see a growing demand for home office tables, especially adjustable in height, as well as nomadic and flexible furniture that can fit well into the domestic space. Alongside the demand for furniture, there is also an increasing demand for technology to make the home more suitable for smart working. The Csil forecasts on the growth of world demand for office furniture in 2022 are, however, positive.