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German furniture exports fall by almost 9 percent

The German furniture industry's export business declined in the first quarter of this year. According to preliminary foreign trade statistics from the Federal Statistical Office, furniture exports fell by just under 9 percent to around 2 billion euros. "In the key sales markets, our manufacturers have felt the effects of weak consumer spending and faltering residential construction activity," reports Jan Kurth, Managing Director of the German Furniture Industry Association. German furniture manufacturers generate around a third of their turnover abroad.

There were noticeable losses in almost all important European sales markets. In France, the main sales market, German manufacturers generated around 11% less turnover than in the same quarter of the previous year. Exports to Switzerland (minus 14 percent), Austria (minus 20 percent), the Netherlands (minus 11 percent), the United Kingdom (minus 3.5 percent) and Belgium (minus 13.5 percent) also fell significantly. Growth was recorded in furniture deliveries to Italy, which ranked seventh, with an increase of almost 9%.

A look at the two most important sales regions outside Europe reveals a mixed picture. While furniture exports to the United States fell by 4 percent, exports to China increased by around 8 percent.

There were declines in exports of living room, dining room and bedroom furniture (minus 19 percent), kitchen furniture (minus 16 percent), upholstered furniture (minus 10 percent) and office furniture (minus 3 percent), among others.

At around 2.5 billion euros, German furniture imports were just under 2% below the previous year's level. With a 30 percent share of total imports, Poland remains the most important furniture supplier country, even though imports fell by around 9 percent in the first quarter. In contrast, China was able to expand its position as the second largest furniture supplier thanks to lower freight rates. The increase in furniture imports from Chinese production of around 20% in the first quarter is primarily attributable to the metal and seating furniture product groups.

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