European parquet consumption decreased significantly in H1 2023: FEP

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The European Parquet Federation (FEP) has released the parquet market performance for H1 2023.

According to FEP’s board of directors, who met on 18 Oct, parquet markets fell in all of FEP countries during the first semester of 2023 compared to the same period last year.

Reported decreases range from 15-38%. The main reason behind is the low activity in the construction sector for both new buildings and renovation.

Construction activity is hampered by uncertainties and high interest rates, which are not sufficient to contain inflation. Both European and imported parquet are impacted.

However, there is still a demand for cheap alternatives to real wood flooring.

As construction output is not expected to upturn soon and as parquet is coming at the end of the building process, improvements are not forecast before end 2024 at least.

FEP offers brief recaps for the following countries:

Austria: Austrian consumption of parquet decreased by 25% during the three first quarters of 2023 compared to the same period last year. Focusing on Q3, the estimated decline is around 20%. This has an impact on working time and employment. The decline in new buildings is not supporting the parquet sector.

Benelux: Parquet sales in the Netherlands declined by an estimated 25-30% during the H1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. The decrease could be a bit less deep in Belgium. The situation is not only due to the competition of other floorings but also of the stagnant economy.

France: A decline by 30-35% of parquet consumption in France is reported for the two first quarters 2023 compared to the first half of 2022. Q3 is even estimated to be worse with 35-40%. As new buildings are continuing to decrease, as well as presence in DIY shops, there is no sign of improvement of the situation before end 2024 at least.

Germany: Parquet consumption in Germany shows a decline by 38% for Q2 2023 compared to the same period last year. Warehouses are full. This year, imports from China are impacted the same way with a decrease by 38% but competition from other types of flooring is to be noted. New buildings are not increasing despite the significant need of flats for immigrants. It is not possible to predict when the situation will upturn.

Italy: A relatively less dramatic situation is reported in Italy but still a fall of parquet consumption by 23-25% during H1 2023 compared to 2022. Imports from China are also declining by 15%, but competition is coming from EU Eastern countries. Inflation remains high as well as interest rates although they do not seem to contain this inflation. No improvement is expected during Q3.

Nordic cluster: Norwegian and Danish markets are flattening out. However, Norwegian consumption declined significantly during H1 2023. Denmark was more hit during Q2 2022. New buildings and renovation are still at low levels but the country is in good shape. The issue is different in Finland where older people are spending cautiously and younger ones have no money to invest. This impacts parquet consumption negatively and more than expected.

Spain: Trade statistics show a reduction of parquet imports by 35% in Spain for the first half of the year compared to 2022. This proofs the declining Spanish consumption. While the building sector is still running, cheap materials are used.

Sweden: The Swedish consumption of parquet collapsed: a decrease of 36.4% for H1 2023 compared to H1 2022, which was a record high. There is no more new building or renovation, which are now at record low, and this will continue to impact the parquet sector on the long term as parquet is coming late in the construction process. Interest rates are increasing but inflation is still not under control. On the other hand, energy prices are stable to decreasing.

Switzerland: The Swiss consumption of parquet fell by 15% during Q1 and Q2 of 2023 compared to the first two quarters 2022. Consumption also fell by 15% during Q3 compared to the same period last year, which was already low.