Wood-furniture: cautiously optimistic for 2024

Negative figures for the third quarter of the wood-furniture supply chain, which however herald – according to the latest data and statistics – growth for next year. This is what emerges from the data released by FederlegnoArredo, in its customary quarterly monitor, on a representative sample of companies weighing 18 percent in terms of turnover, equal to approximately 10 billion out of a total of 56.5 billion. “That the third quarter would also be negative for both the wood-furniture supply chain and the two macro-systems we had already foreseen and announced some time ago, and now the data from our monitor confirm this. The supply chain recorded minus 7.8 percent in the period January-September ’23, compared to the same period in ’22; while exports, which weigh in at 41 percent, stood at minus 7.5 percent and the domestic market at minus 8.1 percent“, explained Claudio Feltrin, president of the federation.

If, as can be seen from the data for the chain, there are no consistent variations between Italy and abroad, for the two macrosystems the differences are clear. The furniture macro-system shows a contraction in sales of minus 3.3 percent, but the Italian market is holding up with plus 0.3 percent, while there is a significant drop (6.4 percent) in exports, which account for over 51 percent. The wood macrosystem has an average drop of 14.5 percent, with a more pronounced negative trend on the domestic market minus 15.6 percent and, albeit in double figures, a more contained one for exports, which weigh 27 percent, at minus 11.4 percent“.

The wood-furniture supply chain is therefore about to close a complicated year that, again according to the FederlegnoArredo Monitor, is expected to be minus 7 percent overall, with exports at minus 7.2 percent and the domestic market at minus 6.8 percent. The downturn in the furniture macro-system is expected to be more contained (minus 3.7 percent) with a limited worsening on the domestic market (minus 0.9 percent) while the foreign market is expected to be minus 6 percent. For the wood macrosystem the year could end with an overall minus 11.5 percent: (minus 11.6 percent Italy, minus 11.1 percent exports.

With the end of 2023, therefore, an exceptional period for the sector can be said to have come to an end, one that for a long time – Covid and post-Covid – saw it as the protagonist of a season that exceeded all expectations, with numbers that are difficult to repeat because they were the result of a contingent condition that had put housing and living at the centre of the spending chapters of citizens and families all over the world. With the end of Covid, spending habits have diversified again, no less than two conflicts have broken out on Europe’s doorstep, and to all this we must add a retreat, albeit understandable, on certain building bonuses. Enough elements to make a return to 2019 levels plausible.

“Now – Feltrin comments – we are facing a period of adjustment and normalisation that must however be set in an unstable international context, the enemy of business and markets. But from our Monitor there is a glimmer of positivity, with a 2024 that could bring the sector back to the positive sign with plus 2 percent, Italy at minus 0.7 and exports growing again by 6.8 percent. This is a breath of fresh air that mitigates the difficulties of ’23 with the traditional markets – starting with Germany and the United States – in great difficulty, to which must obviously be added the war zones and China. The Middle East bucked the trend, first and foremost Saudi Arabia, confirmed by the 4.6 percent increase in the MSA in January-August, but also the United Arab Emirates and India. As far as the furniture macro-system is concerned, an overall plus 5 percent is expected, with a better trend for foreign markets (plus 7.5 percent) compared to Italy, which is still positive at plus 3.2 percent.The appointment with the Salone del Mobile in April 2024 will be an opportunity for our companies to measure whether, and how, they have been able to interpret the continually changing scenarios, having the opportunity to meet buyers from all over the world, compare different markets and already lay the foundations for investments in 2025“.
On the other hand, as far as the wood macro-system is concerned, there is still a negative sign (minus 2.8 percent) determined by a greater drop in the domestic market (minus 5.6 percent) compared to the positive trend of exports (plus 4.7 percent).

Kitchens show a decrease (minus 3.7 percent), which is more marked on the domestic market (minus 5.9 percent) than across borders (plus 0.9 percent). As far as the forecasts for the whole of 2023 are concerned, overall the companies in the furnishing system indicate a decrease (minus 5.2 percent) slightly more marked for exports (minus 6.2 percent) than for the domestic market (minus 4 percent). Companies in the kitchens sector expect to close the year on a downward trend (minus 2.7 percent), penalised by the domestic market (minus 6.6 percent) but on a positive note for exports (plus 5.6 percent). It is very difficult to make a forecast in the complexity of the moment, particularly on international markets. Approximately two thirds of the furnishing companies expressing their sentiment believe that 2024 could be a year of recovery of what was lost in 2023, more important for foreign markets: in particular, companies in the kitchen sector expect a recovery of 9.3 percent on foreign markets.

The overall trend of the bathroom furnishing system is stationary, with a slight minus sign (minus 1.5 percent) and no particular differences between Italy and abroad (respectively minus 1 percent and minus 1.9 percent compared to January-September 2022). For those companies that have made a forecast for the year 2023, the last quarter of the year sees a rather sharp contraction in sales (minus 2.2 percent), which will worsen the overall figure especially in Italy (minus 2.5 percent) but also abroad (minus 1.8 percent). On the other hand, forecasts for 2024 indicate a positive sentiment, with growth involving two thirds of companies in Italy and three out of four abroad. An attitude of confidence that also stems from the approach of the next International Bathroom Exhibition in April, as part of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, a time when companies will have the opportunity to understand potential markets and glimpse new growth prospects.

Wood-furniture: cautiously optimistic for 2024 ultima modifica: 2023-12-12T15:56:42+00:00 da Francesco Inverso