FederlegnoArredo: the Italian industry perseveres

Preliminary balances for 2020 show the wood furnishings sector concluding the year at -10.8%. Home furnishings have done well, but exports have dropped

Claudio Feltrin

The research division of FederlegnoArredo has released the preliminary figures for the year 2020. The Italian wooden furniture industry winds up the year with a drop of -10.8% over the previous year. In spite of the slump, the results exceed earlier expectations, after the heavy losses of the first half of the year.
While in the month of April 2020 estimates pointed to a plunge of 35-45% over April 2019, in June the bottom line for year’s end was forecast at -16%. The summer months played a crucial part in the recovery in terms of income and sales. 

If we examine the preliminary balance with an eye on the future, instead of on the past, we can look forward to 2021 with cautious optimism,” says FLA president Claudio Feltrin.
The home furnishings sector has undoubtedly benefitted from the prolonged period of living inside the home – with the desire to reinvent houses and to take advantage of the many tax breaks made available for 2020, which limited the damage – while the contract sector was the business area that suffered the most.

The dip in total sales was the result of performance on the domestic market (-9.4%), but above all on foreign sales (-13.1%): exports slumped markedly until May, as a result of the various lockdowns and the slowdown in international trade; in any case, France, Germany and the United States remain the main commercial outlets for Italy.

On the import side (-14.7%), there was a bigger drop with respect to production for the domestic market, reflecting a slowdown of trade on a global level caused by the Covid emergency, which left no countries unscathed. Sales slumped even further in the segments connected with the non-residential world of offices, retail and hospitality.

The lack of the Salone del Mobile in Milan was also a factor that penalized the overall furniture system. The area that suffered the most was undoubtedly that of the producers of trade fair displays, with a drop of -90% in sales due to the cancelation of all the national and international events.

“Now we have to gather our energies and our ideas – says Feltrin – to transform this deep crisis into an opportunity, starting from the themes of digital operations, sustainability, education and innovation inside our companies. The pandemic has made the home a central focus, and we represent the home in its entirety, so we will be the protagonists of this turnaround.”