Current figures 2022

Developments in the furniture industry during the Corona pandemic

New studies and statistics from the German furniture industry are presented in the comprehensive yearbook "Möbel Zahlen Daten 2022" (Furniture Figures Data 2022) published by Ferdinand Holzmann Verlag. It provides information about developments in the furniture industry during the Corona pandemic. In three parts, we take a close look at essential information from the industry, this time from the manufacturers' point of view.

Apr 26 2022

As for many sectors of the economy, the pandemic year 2020 also offered many challenges for the German furniture industry. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the industry achieved a total turnover of 17.23 billion euros, a minus of 3.8 percent compared to the previous year. The absolute low point in the course of the year was reached in April, when sales fell by 24.7 per cent. Nevertheless, Germany was once again able to defend its top position in the turnover ranking of furniture production in European countries. 

Top of the European turnover ranking 

German manufacturers generated about 23 percent of the total industry turnover of furniture and furniture parts in Europe. This still puts German furniture production in first place, just ahead of second-placed Italy with a share of 22.7 percent. Poland (14.2 percent) follows in third and fourth place in the ranking, with a large lead over Spain (7.0 percent).

Fifth place went to France with 6.6 per cent of sales. Due to the Brexit, Spain and France each move up one place in the European turnover ranking. In 2019, the United Kingdom was still in fourth place in the comparison of European turnover with a share of 9.7 per cent. (Source: Eurostat online database).

Office and shop furniture has a 22.7 percent share of the furniture industry's total turnover © Palmberg

Kitchen industry successful in the long term 

A total of 468 companies generated the total turnover of the German furniture industry of 17.23 billion euros. As in previous years, the kitchen furniture industry proved to be the most successful sector, this time with 5.3 billion euros achieved by only 48 companies – that is 30.8 percent of the total turnover. The reason for this positive balance could be the long-term trend towards high-quality materials and the desire of many consumers to furnish kitchens in a homely way.  

In 2020, living room, dining room and bedroom furniture accounted for 7.35 billion euros, or 43 percent, while office and shop furniture contributed 3.9 billion euros and 22.7 percent to the industry's total turnover.  

The product segments with the greatest gains were wooden kitchen furniture with a plus of 4.4 percent and other wooden furniture with 4.0 percent. This corresponds to the trend among consumers to prefer to buy furnishings made of natural materials. Plastic furniture, on the other hand, recorded the highest losses with a drop in sales of 15.9 percent.  

The kitchen furniture industry achieved a 4.3 percent increase in sales in the pandemic year 2020 © Nolte Küchen

Slightly declining export share 

In recent years, Germany's export share has steadily increased, reaching 32.7 per cent in 2019. In the pandemic year 2020, however, Germany's export share declined slightly to 31.2 per cent. Kitchen furniture proved to be the strongest export sector with 40.1 per cent, followed by living room, dining room and bedroom furniture with 31.1 per cent and office and shop furniture with 23.1 per cent. 

Foreign sales of German furniture manufacturers fell by around 8 percent in the first year of the Corona pandemic. Kitchen furniture manufacturers fared best through 2020 with a minimal decline of 0.1 per cent, while domestically they even managed an increase of 7.5 per cent. The German furniture industry delivered 63.3 percent of its exports to countries in the Eurozone.

Sales of wooden furniture increased by 4 percent in the first year of the pandemic © DGM / Gwinner

Good mood in the furniture industry 

In the first three quarters of 2021, German furniture manufacturers recorded a total turnover of 12.72 billion euros, which corresponds to a change of +2.5 percent compared to the previous year. For 2021 as a whole, the Federal Statistical Office forecasts turnover at the previous year's level of 17.23 billion.  

Looking at the economic business climate in the furniture industry over the course of the years 1999 to 2021, the highest level of satisfaction was seen in 2017 with a value of +17. For the pandemic year 2020, the ifo Institute determined the worst value to date of -13; in the following year, the mood recovered significantly to +9.

In addition, the number of insolvencies in the furniture industry has been declining steadily in recent years, reaching a new low of 34 filed cases in 2020. However, the insolvency filing obligation was temporarily suspended or restricted in 2020. Similar to the furniture retail companies, German furniture manufacturers are again quite optimistic about the future.  

In the main, the differentiated statistical material of the yearbook "Möbel Zahlen Daten 2022" is based on surveys covering the period until the end of 2020. Which submarkets of the furniture industry benefited in the second year of the crisis and where the biggest declines will have to be absorbed will be shown by later surveys. 

Author: Heike Edelmann 

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