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Austrian Furniture Industry

19 November 2018

Press Release | October 2018

Increase of 3.9 percent in the first half of 2018 and 7.4 percent growth in exports. 

A good start for the Austrian Furniture Industry: according to preliminary figures, the first six months of 2018 were positive with an increase in production of 3.9 percent (furniture overall, not including furniture parts, except for seating). In total, furniture worth 957.4 million euros was produced and sold. Shop furniture recorded the largest growth in the first half of 2018, with an increase of 19.8 percent, followed by bathroom (+11.9%) and kitchen furniture (+5.2%). In terms of value, the production share for wooden bedroom, dining room and living room furniture ranked in first place ahead of kitchen and office furniture, despite a fall of 0.9 percent.

Sharp increase in exports

Top export figures demonstrate the success the Austrian Furniture Industry has had abroad: “We were able to increase exports in the first six months of the year by a remarkable 7.4 percent,” explains Dr Georg Emprechtinger, Chairman of the Austrian Furniture Industry Association. “This positive development is a measurable indicator that ‘made in Austria’ is increasingly evolving into a reliable international quality label and that exports represent an increasingly important cornerstone of the domestic industry.” Exports to Germany – the biggest export country – have also seen further growth of 6.3 percent, climbing to 207.3 million euros. Poland is in second place with 24.1 million euros (+2.1%), followed by Italy with a significant increase of 10.7 percent to 20.6 million euros. France also recorded considerable growth of 15.2 percent to 9.9 million euros. Elsewhere, the UK saw a jump of +14.7 percent (7.9 million euros), while the Netherlands climbed by 24.1 percent (4.4 million euros).

Demand has grown in Eastern Europe and Asia

Parallel to this, business also picked up in Eastern Europe, with the Czech Republic (+6.3%), Slovakia (+5.8%) and Slovenia (+18.0%) playing an increasingly important role, alongside Poland and Hungary. At the same time, demand in Asia saw a significant increase of 26.6 percent. China is the undisputed leader here with 4.4 million euros (+6.6%). But there have also been promising developments in Kuwait, where the Austrian Furniture Industry recorded an increase of 342.5 percent to 2.9 million euros. The United Arab Emirates are in third place, followed by Saudi Arabia and India. There is also potential for growth in South America; for example, exports to Brazil grew by 117.6 percent to 3.3 million euros. Meanwhile, trade with Canada declined (-7.8%), while exports to the USA recorded positive results with an increase of 7.4 percent. Below the line, furniture deliveries to America grew by 8.5 percent.

Imports fall slightly

While exports increased in the first half of 2018, imports fell by 2.3 percent to 917.3 million euros. Against this backdrop, heavyweight Germany delivered 4.1 percent less furniture to Austria than in the equivalent period. Meanwhile, trade with Poland remained at the same level as the previous year and imports from Italy dropped by 5.6 percent. The same applies for imports from Slovenia (-27.4%), the Czech Republic (-18.1%) and Hungary (-9.2%). However, furniture imports from Bosnia-Herzegovina (+10.2%), Turkey (+19.9%), Ukraine (+25.0%) and Serbia (+14.7%) increased considerably. In Asia, China continued to rank right at the top and was also able to record growth of 6.8 percent in Austria in the first six months of the year. At the same time, imports from India, Indonesia and Taiwan gained momentum. There was also an increase in imports from the USA, albeit to a relatively low level of just under 2.6 million euros.

Successful as a global player

Domestic business in the second quarter is still in the black, with a production increase of 2.2 percent, but has nonetheless levelled off somewhat. For this reason, the Austrian Furniture Industry will continue to intensify its focus on exports for the second half of the year. Around 50.8 percent of the furniture produced in the first six months of 2018 was exported, generating 486.0 million euros in this period (furniture overall, not including furniture parts). “Austrian furniture epitomises values such as quality, traditional craftsmanship, design, functionality, sustainability and service. This has helped the domestic industry prove itself a reliable partner internationally,” emphasises Dr Georg Emprechtinger. “Low complaint rates, prompt deliveries and the opportunity to implement individual customer requirements flexibly and quickly in production are gaining in significance as sales arguments.”

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