FEP, the European Federation of the Parquet Industry, estimates that the overall consumption figures of the European Parquet Industry for the year 2014 have contracted in the order of 3.8%.
FEP wishes to stress that this is a first prognosis subject to variations, in anticipation of the complete data to be communicated at FEPs annual General Assembly at the beginning of June in Bordeaux. As was witnessed in the past few years, the results show some variation from country to country and even from quarter to quarter. FEP reports: From a regional perspective, it can be stated that the effects of the crisis are still strongly felt in countries like Italy and France. The good news comes from Sweden where positive developments have been reported, but also from Hungary, which saw its market go slightly up in the course of 2014. In Central Europe, Switzerland remains a steady parquet country with a stable consumption at a high level. Both Austria and Germany saw a consumption evolution for 2014 slightly in the red figures.
As far as parquet products are concerned, planks remain very popular among customers, who also tend to upgrade towards high range products, FEP continues. Fine gradings are back in vogue and natural looks are increasingly popular. Oak is still expanding its domination over other wood species due to its versatility, whereas exotic species are progressively disappearing from the European market. FEP concludes its trading update by saying: Generally speaking, the captains of the industry see positive signs ahead for 2015 and expect a stabilisation in the European parquet business, even if competition with other flooring solutions will remain harsh, not in the least as regards LVTs in view of their market positioning.
GFA/FEP, January 2015
According to a conservative extrapolation for 2014, the 21 ordinary member companies of the EPLF, i.e. the European producers of laminate flooring, sold 465 million square metres of laminate flooring worldwide (2013: 463 million. The total market is therefore at a similar level to the previous year with a slight rise of 0.4%.
The regional markets varied greatly in the way they developed in 2014, however: whereas Western Europe experienced a small downturn overall, Eastern Europe experienced an upturn, the EPLF explains. North America also recorded a significant improvement and growth was even greater in Asia. In South America, sales of EPLF laminate flooring remain relatively steady. Sales in the West European core markets of the European laminate flooring industry (including Turkey) declined by just under 3.5% overall in 2014. In absolute figures, West European sales fell from 290 million m2 in 2013 to 280 million m2 in 2014.
Revenues in Germany, the largest regional single market in Central Europe, were again somewhat weaker compared to the previous year, standing at around 69 million m2 in 2014 (2013: 72 million). The EPLF considers that the reason for this downward tendency is the current shift towards LVT floors. In 2014, turnover for EPLF members in Turkey, the second largest target market in Europe, fell by roughly 18% to 54 million m2 (2013: 66 million). According to the EPLF, this development is predominantly due to a weaker economic situation, shortages in the supply of raw materials and the temporary shutdown of production plants for maintenance. France has remained stable at 39 million m2 and occupies third place in Europe. Thanks to its construction sector becoming stronger, the United Kingdom stands in fourth place at 32 million m2 (2013: 29 million), a growth of 10%. Netherlands had weaker results in 2014, but a figure of 17 million m2 (2013: 19 million) puts them in fifth place. Spain retains sixth place with a stable 14 million m2.
EPLF members have recorded substantial growth in the Eastern European business area, despite the political situation, the EPLF adds. European laminate flooring producers in this region recorded total sales of 110 million m2 in 2014 (2013: 103 million), which equates to an increase of 6%. Russia has achieved 27 million m2 (2013: 24 million) which puts them in the sales ranking on the same level as Poland, which shows an improvement at 27 million m2 (2013: 25 million). The subsequent places in the ranking are occupied by Rumania with 11 million m2 (2013: 10 million), Ukraine with 8 million m2 (2013: 9 million) and Hungary with 5.8 million m2 (2013: 4.6 million).
Turnover in North America rose again back in 2013 to around 28 million m2, and this trend continued into 2014 with 30 million m2. The USA reached a level of 19 million m2 (2013: 16 million) and Canada remained stable in 2014 with 11 million m2. Total sales in 2014 for European laminate production in Asia Pacific stands at around 15 million m2 (2013: 13 million), which means an increase of 15%. Most notably, the Chinese market (including Hong Kong) showed substantial growth, the result of European manufacturers exporting products to the high value sector; in 2014, almost 5 million m2 were sold here (2013: 4 million). South America as a whole was stable in 2014 at 17 million m2. Whereas sales in Mexico followed a downward trend, the Chilean market shows a significantly better result at 7 million m2 (2013: 6 million) compared with the previous year.
GFA/EPLF, January 2015
EPLF members sales in Western Europe in 2014 (source: EPLF)