Europe’s demand for tropical hardwood flooring continues to fall

European consumption of real wood flooring (i.e. excluding laminates) remains flat and the role of tropical timber in this sector is declining.

This is apparent from combined analysis of Eurostat trade data and the latest market report by the FEP (European Federation of the Parquet Industry) released on 16 June 2017 at the Federation’s annual general meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

Prior to the global financial crises, nearly 20 million sqm of the 100 million sqm of real wood flooring manufactured in Europe was faced with tropical hardwood. Another 20 million sqm was imported directly from the tropics.

However, in the last decade a host of factors have conspired to drastically reduce the role of tropical wood in this sector, including the shift to engineered flooring products, intense competition from Eastern European and Chinese manufacturers for market share, a progressive switch to oak at the expense of all other hardwoods, a glut in supply of cheaper laminates and non-wood alternatives, the development of new and improved look-alike surfaces, and an increasing focus on legality due diligence and certification.

Drawing on information from member companies and affiliated national associations, FEP provides detailed data on real wood consumption and production in 16 European countries covered by the FEP. This data shows that consumption increased 1.7 per cent in 2016 to 77 million sqm in the 16 FEP countries, building on a 0.5 per cent gain in 2016. It also shows that production in these countries increased 2.5 per cent to 65.6 million sqm, with notable gains in Poland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, France and Spain.

 

Source: ITTO