Business development in the German furniture industry brightened slightly in March 2021: it shows a clear upward trend, especially in export business.
May 19 2021
With a 6.7 percent increase in turnover, foreign business recovered noticeably last month. In contrast, German furniture manufacturers sold 6.8 percent less domestically than in the previous year. Overall, according to the Federal Statistical Office, the industry recorded a drop in sales of 2.7 percent to 1.5 billion euros compared to the same month last year. However, the losses were significantly lower than in January (minus 12.9 per cent) and February (minus 8.1 per cent).
"While in Germany the long lockdown since mid-December has left clear traces of braking, the loosening of the retail trade had a positive effect on important export markets such as Austria," says Jan Kurth, Managing Director of the German Furniture Industry Associations (VDM/VHK). "However, the first, unfortunately in many places only limited or temporary opening steps in March definitely brought good impulses," Kurth notes.
Development of the individual segments
The development of the individual segments was extremely heterogeneous. While the kitchen furniture industry achieved sales growth of 13.2 percent thanks to a surge abroad, demand in other segments declined. For example, demand for upholstered furniture fell by 7.4 percent, for office and shop furniture by 4.8 percent and for mattresses by 5.3 percent. In other furniture, which includes living room, dining room and bedroom furniture, a decline in sales of almost 13 percent was recorded. According to association estimates, this negative development is, however, overstated due to changes in the statistics.
Associations are optimistic
For the first quarter of 2021, the official statistics for the German furniture industry determined a turnover of 4.1 billion euros and thus a minus of 7.7 percent compared to the previous year. According to Kurth, however, a look at the current order situation gives cause for optimism. "We are observing a clear upward trend, especially in the export business. This is shown by our internal association surveys on incoming orders."
Consumers had a considerable amount of pent-up demand for furnishings during the month-long lockdown. "As there are currently signs of loosening for the furniture trade in more and more regions of Germany and in quite a few foreign markets, we expect demand to pick up noticeably in the near future."
He added that the continued positive developments in new residential construction and a historically high savings rate of private households in Germany were also encouraging. However, the industry is facing immense challenges in view of the acute shortages of various input materials, says Kurth.
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