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Wood-furniture supply chain: the export of furniture reveals a positive trend also in the first half of 2022
The wood-furniture supply chain also recorded a positive trend in the first half of 2022, although the first signs of a slowdown began to appear: this results from the latest surveys prepared by the FederlegnoArredo Study Center on a representative sample of companies (Monitor).

Overall, the change in sales for the wood-furniture sector compared to the first half of 2021 was + 22.2%, a summary of + 26.7% of Italian sales and + 16.3% of exports. In the quarter January-March 2022, sales exceeded those of the corresponding quarter 2021 by 24.5% in value, with + 27.2% of the Italian market and + 21% of the foreign market.

Less dynamism in exports

The lower dynamism of exports is reflected above all on the results of the furniture and lighting macro-system, which in the first half recorded an increase in revenues of 15.5%, a positive figure but lower than that of the wood-furniture sector, with a trend more dynamic for Italy (+ 18.3%), undoubtedly driven by building bonuses, compared to abroad (+ 13.1%).

Istat data also confirm a lower dynamism of exports which for the wood-furniture sector marks a + 18.4% in Jan-Jun 2022 on Jan-Jun 2021, compared to + 21.3% in Jan-Mar 2022 on January-March 2021 and + 16% in April-June, thus losing 5 percentage points. In the furniture macrosystem, it can be seen that the dynamism that began in the first three months of 2022 (+ 20.5%) is slowing down (+ 16.7%).

Positive data or due to price increases?

The national and international political scenario makes it very complex to make any type of forecast: despite all the uncertainties due to the economic and geopolitical context, the overall sentiment is that there is a progressive slowdown compared to 2021 which still allows the sector to maintain a positive result even in 2022 and with values ​​higher than pre-Covid.

Commenting on these data Claudio Feltrin, president of Federlegnoarredo, notes that "it will be necessary to understand how much these results are really positive or do not hide the increases of list that the companies have been forced to apply in these months for the continuous increases of energy and raw materials. Suffice it to say that the Istat index of industry producer prices clearly shows the increase in prices for wood, in particular for panels, is 31% in the first three months of 2022 compared to 2019, and, even if in less marked measure, for furniture (+ 11%) and lighting (+ 4%). It will be only the financial statements that will define the true substance of the good performance of 2022 that the numbers seem to confirm at the moment. If in 2021 the growth recorded was for 80-85% of a quantitative type and the rest due to the increases, for 2022 I fear that we should reverse the relationship. Therefore, prudence is needed, also in light of inflation and the loss of purchasing power of families. The changes of scenario are too sudden and the risk of stopping waiting to understand how the situation will evolve is real ”.

Furniture exports: flows by Region

Also the latest data on the export of furniture of the Regions, processed by the FLA Study Center on Istat data and relating to the period January-June 2022, testify to a slowdown in progress; the furniture sector in general represents the decisive test in terms of exports for the entire wood-furniture supply chain.

Lombardy (about 1.7 billion euros in value) slows down: in the semester January-June 2022 out of 2021 it recorded a + 18.7%. Analyzing the two quarters of the year, we go from January-March growth of 24.1% over 2021 to 14.3% in April-June, therefore with a loss of about 10 percentage points.

France (+ 16.9% on Jan-Jun 21), United States (+ 31.3% on Jan-Jun 21), Germany (+ 16.6% on Jan-Jun 21) and China (+ 14.1% on Jan-Jun 21) are the first destinations for Lombard furniture but Spain, among the EU countries, records the most significant growth (+ 31.5% on Jan-Jun 21).

Veneto, in contrast to the trend, (1.6 billion euros) is in second place and marks a + 15.5% in the January-June 2022 semester over 2021, thanks to a more dynamic second quarter (+ 16.2%), better than in the January-March quarter which recorded a + 14.8%.

Also in this case France (+ 8.8% on Jan-Jun 21) and Germany (+ 29.3% on Jan-Jun 21) are the main destinations of Veneto exports; among the provinces, Treviso is the first, also at a national level, for exported value of furniture (1 billion euro; + 11.3% growth on Jan-Jun 21) especially towards France (+ 7.9% on Jan- Jun 21), Germany (+ 19.6% on Jan-Jun 21) and United Kingdom (+ 25.4% on Jan-Jun 21).

Friuli-Venezia Giulia follows with 1.1 billion euros and a growth of 27.2% in the half year 2022, when the first quarter recorded a + 28.5%, while the second quarter dropped to + 26.1%, with a slight decrease of 1.4%.

In the photo, the Poliform stand at the Salone del Mobile Milano 2022. Ph Alessandro Russotti