News 2016

FEP: market progressively back to green figures
After a year in which the consumption figures of the European Parquet Industry contracted by more than 6%, the first estimates for 2015 - showing market growth of 0.5% - paint a more optimistic picture.

FEP’s (European Federation of the Parquet Industry) preliminary forecast for the year which just ended indicates a stabilisation in parquet sales across Europe, with an upward tendency during the last months. The slight global European market growth of 0.5% should be seen as a first prognosis subject to variations, in anticipation of the complete data to be communicated at FEP’s annual General Assembly next June in Thun, Switzerland.

FEP: “As was witnessed in the past few years, the results show some variation from country to country but, for the first time since long, the Southern European markets, including Spain, seem to be gaining in momentum. From a regional perspective, the good news comes mainly from the Swedish and Hungarian markets both showing a sound growth. The Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and to a lesser extent France are also performing well while the important German, Austrian and Swiss parquet markets remain stable at a high level.”

As far as specific parquet products are concerned, wooden planks continue to attract customers, says FEP. The gap between large planks and 3-strip parquet products is ‘slowly but surely’ closing. “Competition from other flooring solutions is still fierce. This is especially the case with LVT’s, which are gaining market shares, also in the residential market.”

“Generally speaking, the captains of the parquet industry point to increased prices of raw materials due to shortages in the market,” according to FEP. “The fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to differentiate parquet from competitive flooring alternatives with a wood look surface, is also a growing source of concern for parquet producers.” They are nonetheless convinced, FEP concludes, that parquet has “a really bright future as it remains the only REAL product versus wood look-a-like products made from vinyl or ceramics.”

GFA/FEP, January 2016<

EPLF: laminate flooring sales minus 3.1%
In 2015, worldwide sales of 452 million m2 of European-produced laminate flooring (previous year: 467 million m2) were reported by the 20 ordinary members of the EPLF (i.e. the manufacturers of laminate flooring). The resulting minus of 3.1% is relativized in view of a Turkish member having left the association at the end of 2014.

Once again, the EPLF explains, growth rates varied between regions during 2015. Western Europe (including Turkey) was weaker, whereas Eastern Europe saw a slight upturn. Figures rose positively as well in Asia, and the biggest gains were recorded in North America. EPLF laminate flooring sales in South America also showed an upward trend last year.

With one Turkish member having left the EPLF, the Western European sales of the laminate flooring industry (including Turkey) fell from 282 million m2 in 2014 down to 254 million m2 in real figures in 2015, i.e. a plunge by 10%. In Germany – the largest single regional market in Central Europe – the substitution trend continued: the EPLF believes that a shift in favour of LVT flooring is the reason for the decline on the German market down to around 66 million m2 (2014: 69 million m2), showing a minus of 4.6%.

Also included in the EPLF sales statistics for Western Europe is Turkey, where laminate sales for the association experienced another significant drop during 2015, showing a decline of approx. 44% down to 32 million m2 (2014: 57 million m2).
EPLF: “The reasons behind this are complex: a major Turkish member having left the EPLF at the end of 2014, and the anti-dumping proceedings brought forward by the Turkish Ministry of Economy against some German flooring manufacturers, which ran until summer 2015, have both contributed to the decline.” Another factor to be considered, according to the EPLF, is the ‘general weakening’ of the Turkish economy. Despite worsening figures, Turkey remains the third-largest target market for EPLF members.

France has shown a slight downturn with 37 million m2 (2014: 39 million m2) and in 2015 now occupies second place in Europe. The United Kingdom, despite a booming construction market, did not continue its positive upward trend for the EPLF members, showing slight losses of 3% with a sales figure for 2015 of 31 million m2 (2014: 32 million m2), which puts the country in fourth place after Turkey. The Netherlands market grew in 2015 with +8%, and at 19 million m2 (2014: 18 million m2), managed to retain fifth place. With sales of 15.3 million m2 (2014: 14.6 million m2) and roughly +5%, Spain holds on to sixth place.

Despite a difficult situation in Eastern Europe during 2015, EPLF laminate sales were able to keep up in this region. At 111 million m2 (2014: 110 million m2), European laminate flooring producers achieved a slight increase in this region of 1%. In Russia, 29 million m2 were sold (2014: 28 million m2), which resulted in a growth rate of 2%. Poland saw an improvement of 7% (2014: +6%) up to 28 million m2 (2014: 26 million m2). The subsequent places in the ranking are occupied by Rumania with 11 million m2 (2014: 11 million m2), Hungary with 6 million m2 (2014: 6 million m2), Bulgaria with 5 million m2 (2014: 4 million m2) and the Ukraine with a good result after all, according to the EPLF, of nearly 5 million m2 (2014: 8 million m2).

The EPLF sales curve for North America has been rising steeply since 2013 and that trend has continued in 2015, with +32% up to 39 million m2 (2014: 29 million m2). At 25 million m2 (2014: 18 million m2), the USA saw gains in 2015 of 37%. Canada achieved a good increase of 24% in 2015 with 14 million m2 (2014: 11 million m2).

Total sales in 2015 of European-produced laminate in Asia Pacific stand at around 17 million m2 (2014: 15 million m2), which means an increase of 14% (following +20% the previous year). Again, the biggest growth was registered in the Chinese market, including Hong Kong. Exports from high-end products made in Europe are increasingly well received here – 2015 saw sales of 5.6 million m2 (2014: 5 million m2), which equates to an increase of 10% over the previous year. Israel has improved slightly at 2.5 million m2 (2014: 2.2 million m2) and Saudi Arabia has registered good growth with 3 million m2 (2014: 2 million m2). The markets in India and Australia, with their traditionally low turnover level, have also shown growth in 2015.

South America showed an overall positive trend in 2015 with 17 million m2 (2014: 16 million m2) and +9%. Sales in Mexico reached around 4.5 million m2 (2014: 3.9 million m2). Also Argentina showed better results with 1.8 million m2 (2014: 1.4 million m2). Compared with the previous year, the Chilean market remained stable with sales of 7 million m2 (2014: 7 million m2).

Sales in global market regions
Sales Statistics 2015 (source: EPLF)

GFA/EPLF, January 2016