Acimall: Partial improvement in Italian wood and furniture technology industry in 2020 Q3

Acimall, the association of Italian woodworking machinery and tools manufacturers, has reported the figures for the July-September 2020 period and what’s happening in the wood and furniture technology segment of the Italian mechanical engineering industry. In general, orders of machinery and tools for wood and furniture are recording a decreasing trend below expectations, which indicates a partial improvement of the economic situation compared to the previous quarters that were strongly impacted by the lockdown.

This trend indicates that the industry’s production system has identified the necessary countermeasures to carry on, within a context where the role of digital communication tools to support business is getting stronger; the effectiveness of these tools is directly proportional to the skills available in each company and developed in recent years, as well as the investments made in this area. Webinars, online demos and “digital conversations” are helping companies keep their business relations on global markets alive, reaffirming their competitiveness to customers around the world, traditionally sensitive to “made in Italy” quality. Digital tools are also valuable in the domestic market, where demand is clearly shrinking and, as requested by the entire Confindustria system and beyond, the effects cannot be mitigated by the incentives to companies that the whole system is calling out loud.

Source: Acimall Studies office, 2020 October

Looking at figures, wood-furniture technology recorded a decrease of orders by 10.1% compared to the same quarter of 2019, in line with the trend of the entire machine tools industry. Orders on the domestic market decreased by 32.3%, as opposed to a better trend of international demand, which decreased by just 1%. This general trend is mitigated by the fact that orders increased by more than 40% compared to the terrible period of April-June 2020.

The quarterly survey by the Studies Office of Acimall – the Confindustria member association that represents the industry –  on a statistic sample of companies, indicates that the orders book is equal to 3.1 months (versus 2.4 in the previous quarter), with a price increase of 0.6% since the beginning of 2020. The decrease in revenues, compared to the same quarter of 2019, amounted to 9.5% – another “reassuring” figure if compared to minus 29.8% in the previous quarter.

According to the survey, 47% of the interviewed companies indicate a positive production trend, 18% decreasing and 35% stable. Employment will be stationary according to 65% of the sample, while 29% expects a reduction and only 6% believes it can increase.

Available stocks are stable according to 65% of the interviewees, increasing for 6% and decreasing for 29%.