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Poland remains the number one importer for German export business

The export business of the German furniture industry suffered last year due to weak consumer sentiment in many markets. According to preliminary data from the Federal Statistical Office, furniture exports fell by 6 percent to around 8.4 billion euros. The biggest declines were seen in upholstered furniture manufacturers, with a 10 percent decrease, followed by kitchen furniture and living, dining, and bedroom furniture producers (both sectors with a decrease of 9.5 percent each). 'Our manufacturers continue to operate in a difficult international market environment, characterised by consumer reluctance to buy and sluggish housing construction,' said Jan Kurth, managing director of the German Furniture Industry Associations (VDM/VHK).

Photo © Freepixx |

In most European countries, German furniture manufacturers' sales declined last year due to high inflation, reduced purchasing power, and slowing construction activity, although there may still be adjustments to foreign trade statistics. In the most important market, France, furniture sales were 4.5 percent lower than the previous year, at 1.3 billion euros. While there was only a modest decrease of 0.3 percent in Switzerland, significant declines were recorded in Austria (down 11.6 percent), the Netherlands (down 7.4 percent), the United Kingdom (down 11.3 percent), and Belgium (down 7.5 percent). There was a positive increase in German furniture exports to Italy, up by 2.3 percent.

Export markets outside of Europe showed mixed results. German furniture exports to the USA, the most important non-European market, declined by 10.6 percent. There was also a decrease in furniture exports to China (down by 0.5 percent). However, demand surged in the Persian Gulf region, with an increase of almost 96 percent in exports to the United Arab Emirates. This traditional hub for the entire Middle East region had by far the highest growth rate among the main foreign markets for the German furniture industry. However, exports to Saudi Arabia increased by 2.6 percent amid the country's political and economic opening.

The industry export ratio – the proportion of goods directly exported abroad by domestic furniture manufacturers to the total industry turnover – remained almost unchanged at 33.4 percent last year.

The current market weakness also had a significant impact on furniture imports into Germany last year. According to official statistics, imports decreased by nearly 18 percent to around 9 billion euros. Poland remains the most important supplier, despite a 4 percent decrease in deliveries to just under 2.9 billion euros. Currently, about 32 percent of all furniture imported into Germany comes from the eastern neighbour. Deliveries from the second-placed China fell significantly by 31.5 percent to 2.2 billion euros. Imports from Italy (down 17.5 percent), Turkey (down 4 percent), Romania (down 12 percent), and the Netherlands (down 24 percent) also decreased.

More information:
Verbände der deutschen Möbelindustrie (VDM/VHK)

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