In the wake of severe setbacks, global trading in furniture showed a noticeable upturn again in 2010, accounting for a total increase of 7%. The domestic market in the USA continues to falter, though Asian countries are reporting high growth rates in domestic sales and exports.
North America still remains the biggest import market, followed by Germany, Great Britain and France. In Europe too, the recovery process in the wake of the economic crisis has differed from country to country. Whilst Germany, Poland and Sweden, for instance, have achieved above-average growth, major national economies like Spain or Great Britain have stagnated – with the corresponding impact on consumption.
Germany continues to be the most important furniture market within Europe with expected growth of 5% for the year as a whole. This is largely due to the office furniture producers (+22.8%) and shop fitting manufacturers (14.9%). This positive tendency is apparent in virtually all furniture sectors: the developments in purely domestic furniture (+4.6%), storage furniture (+6.1%), kitchen furnishings (+5.3%) and the mattress industry (+4.4%) give every reason for confidence.
Only upholstered furniture gives slight cause for concern with a drop of 2.5%. From 2011, the official statistics include 16.7% fewer upholstered furniture enterprises than in 2010, which results in lower total sales and explains the negative development. In real terms, the sales of upholstered furniture manufacturers are estimated to have increased by around 2%.
In global terms, China has become the world’s most important furniture exporter and sells furniture with a value of over 21 bn euros. But there are also enormous sales opportunities on the country’s domestic market: thanks to rising incomes and enthusiastic consumer behaviour, China is becoming increasingly interesting for foreign furniture producers. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, spending on furniture rose by almost 40% in the second half of 2010 alone.
Source: Association of the German Furniture Industries (Verband der Deutschen Möbelindustrie)