Fourth quarter of 2023 for the Italian woodworking technology market still declining: Acimall

Image: Acimall

After the booming growth of recent years, another negative quarter is expected for the processing industry of wood and wood-based materials.

This trend is emerging from the traditional quarterly survey carried out by the Studies Office of Acimall, the association of Italian woodworking and furniture technology manufacturers, which continues to show a falling trend for orders, in line with the previous quarters.

The October-December 2023 figures show an overall reduction of orders by 23.6% compared to the same period of 2022, resulting from the combination of incoming orders from abroad, with a 6.3% decrease, and a sharp decline in domestic demand of 48.1%, largely due to a wait-and-see attitude encouraged by the expected implementation of the new Industry 5.0 measures.

The back-to-normal trend after the exceptional results of 2020-2022 has combined with the wait for the new decree, whose details are being delayed, inevitably causing a negative impact on investment decisions for instrumental goods.

However, the wood and furniture technology industry can still rely on a significant order backlog of four and a half months, having saved for a rainy day in the past years when demand was high. Prices are rallying, up by 1.9% since January 2023.

According to the quality survey, 55% of the interviewed companies expect substantial stability in production, while 25% predict an increase and 20% further reduction. Ten percent of interviewed companies expect increasing employment, while 70% indicate substantial stability and 20% fear a reduction.

Available stocks are stable according to 50% of the interviewees, increasing for 20% and decreasing for 30%.

On the domestic market, the figures processed by the Studies Office of Acimall reveal that 50% of the sample expect stability, 15% increasing orders and 35% a reduction.

Expectations are more balance for the foreign markets: 40% said the trend will remain stable, while things will get worse according to 35%. The remaining 25% expect an increase in orders.

Acimall Director Dario Corbetta commented: “We can only repeat what we have been saying for months. In recent times, our industry has benefited from a very positive situation that could not last forever, and now we have to face a return to pre-COVID levels.

“This situation must not scare Italian companies, as they are perfectly fit to face any situation, as the history of our industry shows. For sure, the definition of details of the Industry 5.0 decree and its tangible consequences might have a strong impact on the trends emerging from our data, and this is the direction where the entire community of mechanical engineering is heading.”