After the global economic crisis of 2020, 2021 represented an important year for wood-furniture companies in the recovery of the gap caused by the pandemic: the preliminary data processed by the FederlegnoArredo Study Center reveal a real recovery, which involved in different sizes of the various compartments that make up the wood-furniture chain. A particularly positive trend for the furniture and lighting macro system, which closes 2021 with an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2019, for a total turnover value of over 26 billion euro (it was 23.5 in 2019) and a active commercial activity equal to 9.3 billion euros, up by 19.7 per cent on 2020 and by 9.3 per cent on 2019.
MACRO FURNISHING AND LIGHTING SYSTEM
With regard to sales on the Italian market, the furniture and lighting macro-system recorded an increase of 12.8 percent over 2019, up 23.7 percent over 2020. Numbers supported by the effectiveness of tax breaks and, more generally, by the centrality that the home has taken on in the life of Italians during the pandemic. Although, to evaluate the changes recorded, it is necessary to wait for the company balance sheets for 2021 considering that sales have suffered, especially in the last months of 2021 (and it is expected that this effect will also be produced in 2022) absorb the increases in raw materials and energy.
On the export front, the furniture and lighting macrosystem (which alone accounts for almost three quarters of the total foreign sales of the LA supply chain) grows well by more than 20.9 percent on 2020, exceeding the levels of 2019 with a variation of plus 9, 4 percent. All the main markets performed well, characterized by net increases from 2020 to 2021.
As regards the period from January to November 2021, analyzing the trends in the various countries, we observe that France (plus 25.1 percent on 2020, plus 15.5 percent on 2019, production turnover of 2 billion euros in 2021) confirms the first destination: the size of Made in Italy exports and growth rates make it a commercial outlet that remains promising, and it is also here that the contract, despite struggling to return to normal, finds one of the main world hubs .
In second place the United States (plus 42.8 per cent on 2020, plus 33.7 per cent on 2019, production turnover of 1 billion and 356 million euros in 2021), with particularly dynamic trends for the bedroom sectors, upholstery, mattresses, furnishing accessories, bathroom furniture and accessories and lighting.
Germany is followed by (plus 15.3 per cent on 2020, plus 13.3 per cent on 2019), which records positive trends in exports in the living area and thermo furnishings sectors, United Kingdom (plus 25.5 per cent on 2020, minus 2.6 per cent on 2019) Switzerland (plus 18 per cent on 2020, plus 9.7 per cent on 2019) and China (plus 28.9 per cent on 2020, plus 11.8 per cent on 2019), growth for bathtubs and shower enclosures, upholstery, bedrooms, floors. Russia goes from plus 14.9 in 2020 to minus 5.9 percent over 2019.
The most dynamic systems include furniture (up 15.6 percent on 2019) and bathroom furnishings (up 10.1 percent on 2019): both positive trends for both Italian and foreign sales. The kitchen sector is also in line with the furniture system (up 12.2 per cent on 2019), which recovers in 2020 and exceeds pre-pandemic levels, benefiting more than others from the positive conditions on the domestic market.
Partial recovery also for the non-residential sectors (offices, commercial furnishings, hospitality) although the return to normality is still far away. Also in 2021 the sectors most connected with the contract world are confirmed as less dynamic than those related to the home: if the trend of the office system compared to 2020 is positive (plus 20.0 per cent of production turnover), they are however not the values recorded in 2019 (minus 4 per cent) before the pandemic period are still recovered. Due to the still slowdown in exports, the lighting system remains below 2019 levels, while sales on the Italian market are doing well, returning to pre-pandemic levels (up 2.8 percent).
It should not be underestimated that the price effect also contributes to determining the extent of growth in 2021 and that next year’s company financial statements will tell us how much they have affected. In fact, to cope with the higher costs of raw materials and energy, companies have had to resort to an increase in price lists, often alongside the reduction of margins and also, to a lesser extent, the use of energy self-production.
The problem linked to supply is far from resolved indeed, it is obviously aggravated by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, and is having and will continue to have serious repercussions also in the course of 2022: the conflict is increasing the supply difficulties of companies and pushing prices of raw materials and energy rise further, reaching the final product and making our products and therefore our companies less competitive. From Ukraine, Russia and Belarus we import approximately 5.3 percent of logs, panels and sawn timber which are worth 468,948 cubic meters (data Jan-Nov 2021) out of the approximately 9 million cubic meters that arrive in Italy from all over the world. Russia is worth 2.5 percent, Ukraine 2.3 percent and Belarus 0.5 percent.
The weight of Russia on the export of the wood-furniture chain is equal to 410 million euros (data updated to November 2021) which in 2019 was 435, thus recording a decrease of about 6 percentage points.
The furniture and lighting macrosystem, on the other hand, is worth around 340 million euros, which were 361 in 2019 with a decrease of around 6 percentage points also recorded in this case. In the export “ranking” of the Macro Furniture System, Russia is the 9th country, behind China, Spain and Belgium.