The changes recorded by Istat in turnover (minus 14.9 per cent) and production (minus 13.9 per cent) of wood and in turnover (minus 0.1 per cent) and production (minus 5.4 per cent) of furniture in the first half of 2023 – compared to the same period in 2022 – are a tangible sign of a trend in the wood-furniture sector that is forced to navigate by sight and to deal with a constantly evolving situation that will certainly continue throughout 2023, if not beyond.
It is clear that the decline in demand in the furniture sector has been matched by a retreat in wood production, whose turnover has risen sharply in the last two years due to the costs of raw materials and energy. Therefore, the decrease in turnover can partly be understood as a consequence of the positive recovery in commodity prices.
The comparison between June ’22 and June ’23 also shows that it is the wood industry that has declined most significantly in terms of turnover (minus 17.1 per cent), to which must be added a very negative figure for production, which reached minus 13.9 per cent. Furniture turnover recorded minus 0.8 per cent, while production was minus 5.1 per cent.
A situation that is also confirmed by the Monitor data processed by the FederlegnoArredo Study Centre on a representative sample of companies in the sector, which in terms of turnover represents 18 per cent of the supply chain, equal to approximately 10 billion out of a total of 56.5 billion. In the first half of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, the wood-furniture supply chain will record an overall contraction of 5.9 per cent with a negative trend for both the Italian market (minus 6.8 per cent) and exports (minus 4.5 per cent).
The greatest burden on the overall trend was borne by the wood macro-system, which contracted by minus 12.6 per cent (minus 14 per cent in domestic sales and minus 8.3 per cent in exports), although with very different trends in the various sectors: from panels in sharp contraction to roofing, wooden structures and buildings, on the other hand, in growth.
The furnishing macro-system – which accounts for 62 per cent of total sales – in the first six months of 2023 closed more or less in line with the same period of ’22 (minus 1.1 per cent): the overall trend is determined in particular by lower exports (minus 3.3 per cent), which account for more than half of total exports and cancel out the moderately positive effect of the domestic market (plus 1.3 per cent).
Looking at the end of 2023, the survey indicates a negative year end for our industry at minus 3.3 per cent, with exports at minus 2.6 per cent and the domestic market at minus 3.8 per cent. As far as the furniture macro-system is concerned, forecasts speak of a slightly positive total trend (plus 0.2 per cent) thanks to the greater resilience of the domestic market (plus 1.3 per cent) compared to exports at minus 0.7 per cent. On the other hand, a negative trend is expected for the wood macro-system (minus 8.5 per cent in total) without substantial differences between the domestic market (minus 8.6 per cent) and foreign markets (minus 8.3 per cent).