The year 2021 was really positive. This trend was reaffirmed by the Studies Office of Acimall, the association of Italian manufacturers of wood and furniture technology: production amounted to 2,530 million euro, up by 36.9 percent compared to 2020, a year we would like to forget for many reasons, not only economic, and by 11.6 percent versus 2019.
Excellent results also for export, reaching 1,740 million euro (plus 30.8 percent over 2020; plus 10.1 percent over 2019), with a domestic market showing signs of liveliness (790 million euro, up by 52.5 percent over 2020 and 15.1 percent over 2019).
Import also increased, reaching 244 million euro, 59.4 percent more than 2020 and 21.4 percent more than 2019.
According to tradition, driven by the strong propensity to export of Italian companies, the trade balance was also positive, with a value of 1,496 million euro (plus 27.1 percent over 2020, plus 8.5 percent over 2019). Apparent consumption also increased: 1,034 million euro, up by 54.1 percent over 2020 and 16.5 percent over 2019.
“The 2021 figures speak for themselves, showing that the technology industry has emerged from two difficult years, going back to pre-Covid levels”, said Dario Corbetta, Acimall director. “State incentives have certainly played a key role, but they have not “altered” the market trend: the growth we are seeing now is not only driven by incentives (which have basically caused a concentration of investment decisions in a narrow timeframe), but also by a significant market rally that has brought business back to its normal development patterns”.
“So, we want to reassure those who fear that the current trend is “doped” by the incentives, and once this window of opportunity has closed, we will have to face a period of stagnating demand”, Corbetta continued. “Such belief is supported by the economic figures of the early months of 2022, which clearly indicate a structural expansion of our industry, which is going to last”.
The consolidated figures of 2021 allow to draw more conclusions on Italian export, which increased compared to 2020 and 2019. Looking at the present situation, we can state that the Russia-Ukraine crisis has only caused a limited reduction of Italian export so far. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus together represent a small share of Italian export, approximately 5 percent, and the export flows to those countries seem to continue, though with a significant reduction.
Many woodworking machines are not listed in the “Dual Use” category of equipment that can be used to produce warfare materials, so they are not subject to the current embargo, while all spare parts are subject to constraints. At present, banking operations, despite some difficulties, have not been interrupted, with a few Russian institutes still working.
Looking at 2021 figures, we can draw a ranking of countries based on their interest in made-in-Italy wood and furniture technology. The list is not surprising, reaffirming the stability of the regions where Italian production is mostly appreciated.
The top position is taken by the United States (164.2 million euro, plus 13.9 percent over 2020), followed by France (118.2 million, plus 10.3 percent) and Poland (110.6 million euro, plus 34 percent). Germany is at number four in the list of “customer countries”, with an expenditure of 106.3 million euro on Italian machinery, up by 11 percent compared to 2020. Then come the United Kingdom (81.3 million, plus 56 percent), Spain (76.2 million, plus 62.3 percent), Russia (67.3 million, plus 102.4 percent) and China, placing orders in Italy for 60.1 million euro, the only country in the top-ten list with a negative trend by 19 percent.
The list is closed by Belgium (at number nine with 56.6 million euro, plus 18.4 percent) and Austria (54.5 million, plus 36.6 percent).
In conclusion, we can say that all figures suggest that the positive trend is going to endure throughout this year, although supply chain disruptions and unpredictable events related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the development of the global Covid-19 pandemic might shuffle the cards once again.
“We are now looking forward to Xylexpo next October – Dario Corbetta concluded – which will be a great opportunity to check the health of our industry and the trend of international trade flows”.