2017 started out well for the Italian wood and furniture industry, a vast network of over 79,000 companies sprawled over the nation that employs more than 320,000 people. In 2016, the industry generated an estimated €41 billion in revenue, a 2.2 per cent increase from 2015, a report from FederlegnoArredo (FLA), showed.
The industry was able to weather the years of economic crisis well thanks to strong wood and furniture exports, which has lived up to its strength – proven time and again – in the first quarter of 2017, even revealing a five per cent increment in industry sales abroad from January to March as compared to the same period in 2016. Exports of furniture showed a 4.2 per cent upward bump.
Russia’s economic recovery is a significant factor, along with the consolidation of the markets in China, France, and the United States (U.S.), top markets for Italian products.
Innovation and research
During the years of economic crisis, the industry continued to innovate, and because of that, can now say that the worst of the crisis is behind them. According to the FLA, a survey was done, showing that over 70 per cent of companies had invested in research and development (R&D) in 2016.
The global economy began slowly recovering in 2016, after showing a few signs in 2015, and a recovery seems to be in the works, with results shown in 2017’s first quarter, as according to an FLA survey, there was an average increase of three per cent in domestic sales.
However, the main factor behind the economic recovery in Italy was the tax incentive launched in June 2013 that generated an estimated €4.3 billion at the end of 2016.
The construction crisis
After its collapse around a decade ago, the construction industry was the root of many issues the wood and furniture industry faced, though it is presently showing a few signs of recovery. Construction with wood has gained attention and market share, driven by the material’s sustainability and anti-earthquake properties. Between 2014 and 2015, market share of wood used in housing hit 6.4 per cent.
Sources: Italy Europe 24, FederlegnoArredo