Woodworking technologies: orders index (2005=100, current prices) (Source: Acimall Studies office, 2020 July)
According to a quarterly survey conducted by the Studies office of Acimall – the Confindustria member association of wood-furniture technology companies – the April to June 2020 term brought no surprising news. The drop in orders of woodworking machinery and tools is strong, in line with all the segments of mechanical engineering and the entire economy.
Such a result was inevitable, considering the lockdown of factories in April and the slow, gradual recovery of manufacturing operations in May. The month of June was “fully operational”, but it could not save the final result of the third quarter which was deeply affected by massive layoffs and remote working, which inevitably changed the organisation model of most companies. The industry can only wait for a demand rally that, according to several sources, is expected in the coming months, both from the domestic market and from abroad.
The quarterly survey – carried out on a statistic sample that represents the entire industry – shows that the Italian industry of woodworking machinery and tools recorded a 39.2% reduction of orders compared to the same period of last year, resulting from minus 34.2% in international demand and an impressive 59.2% collapse in domestic demand.
The orders book extended across 2.4 months (versus 2.6 Q1) and, since the beginning of 2020, and prices have increased by 0.5% (0.8% at the end of March 2020). Revenues decreased as well, by an average of 29.8%.
The quality survey speaks for itself and reflects the expectations of business owners: 7% of the interviewees indicate a positive production trend (versus 12% in Q1), while 86% reported decreasing production (versus 69% in January to March); the remaining 7% indicate a stable situation (versus 19%).
Surprisingly, employment is “holding on”. At the end of the first quarter 2020, 69% of companies expected a decrease in employment but this figure has gone down to 47%, while 53% believe that the employment trend will be stable (versus 75% three months ago). A positive trend for employment is unlikely. Available stocks are stable according to 27% of the sample, while 20% expect growth and 19% reduction.