News 2018

FEP: European markets mainly in positive mood
The European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP) observes that the European markets are generally in a positive mood and experience slight growth. The provisional results for the first quarter of 2018 point to a continuation of the moderately positive parquet consumption trends observed in the same period last year, with the exception of Germany, which is reporting a significant decrease.

FEP comments: “Projects are the main driver of the market although renovation should create additional activity. In spite of the long and wet winter, the availability of raw material is not a critical issue for the time being. Nevertheless, as efficient harvesting has been demanded from forest-owners and sawmillers, small formats are now unfortunately lacking.” A brief per country recap is provided below.

The Austrian parquet sales continued to increase by 2% during the first quarter 2018 compared to the same period last year.

The indications available point towards a growth of 3% of the parquet consumption during the first three months of 2018.

Baltic States
Baltic countries’ markets are showing a slightly positive trend during the first quarter 2018.

The Danish parquet market remains flat, reflecting the decrease on the retail market which is compensated by the increases observed for contracts and projects.

Parquet sales slightly rise by 1% on the Finnish market – (large) projects are the main driver of this moderate growth while the residential market is stable.

The French market continues to develop positively. Parquet sales grew by an estimated 2% during the first quarter 2018.

Data indicate that parquet sales fell by 5% during the first quarter of the current year, compared to the first quarter 2017 which was good. This decrease reflects the subdued residential market, the lack of installers which leads to shifting of projects, the competition from ‘wood look’ floor coverings and the disappearing spaces for hardwood flooring on shelfs in DIY.

Parquet sales rose by 2% during the first quarter 2018 and continued to benefit from the positive economic developments observed in Italy.

The information received points to a confirmation of the improvements already observed on the Dutch market – parquet sales increased by an estimated 3% during the first quarter 2018.

Compiled data indicate that the Norwegian market is flat to slightly improving (0-1%) during the first months of 2018.

Despite the turbulent political situation, the Spanish market seems to evolve slowly but positively by 1 to 2% during the first quarter of the year 2018.

The trends observed in 2017 are continuing and the parquet consumption rose by 2% during the first quarter 2018 compared to the same period last year. Sales in retailing decrease while project markets keep growing. Sweden is currently the most dynamic market in Scandinavia.

Parquet consumption remains flat but at a high level in Switzerland during the first months of 2018. There are lots of large on-going renovation projects.

FEP/GFA, April 2018

Greenpeace Int. to not renew FSC membership
Greenpeace International announced last month it is not renewing its membership in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a global timber certification scheme for which the NGO was a founding member 25 years ago.

Matt Daggett, Global Campaign Leader for the Forest Campaign at Greenpeace International, said: “When implemented effectively, Forest Stewardship Council certification can protect people’s rights and improve forest management, but we no longer have confidence that FSC alone can consistently guarantee enough protection, especially when forests are facing multiple threats. FSC is not consistently applied across regions, especially where there’s weak governance.”

Daggett continues: “For a certification scheme to be considered credible in 2018, I believe it must transparently publish the mapped boundaries of sourcing areas and assessment reports to allow external monitoring and input. We are calling on FSC and all certification schemes to act with urgency to improve their transparency.”

Greenpeace further states that local offices that operate in countries “with stronger governance” may maintain FSC membership “so that they can push for stronger implementation at a national level.” The organization will not participate as a member of any other timber certification scheme.

FSC International reacts by saying it “believes this decision moves individual organizations inside Greenpeace International away from working on the responsible management of natural forests, even when certified to the world’s most trusted standard. In FSC’s view, forest protection cannot stand alone without responsible management to help protect and maintain the world’s forests.”

FSC continues: “FSC forest certification is a necessary tool to enhance and ensure economic, social and environmental forest values, including the protection of important biodiversity areas such as High Conservation Value forests and FSC intends to continue playing a frontrunner role in this area.” FSC is nevertheless appreciative of Greenpeace International for its contributions to sustainable management of the world’s forests over the years.

Illegal Deforestation in Argentina (photo: Greenpeace)
Illegal Deforestation in Argentina (photo: Greenpeace)

Greenpeace/FSC/GFA, April 2018

FEP: consumption progressed by 1% in 2017
According to the first estimates of the European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP) for the year 2017, the consumption figures of parquet in Europe continue to increase for the third year in a row. While consumption progressed by 1.7% in 2016, a modest growth of close to 1% is forecasted for 2017.

“This rather moderate progression is mainly a result of a slight decline of parquet consumption observed in Germany, the biggest European market for parquet, and Switzerland. On the contrary, all other countries are benefiting from the improvement of the general economic context, especially from the growth of the European consumption, and of the positive trends reported by the construction sector,” FEP explains. Poland, The Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden are experiencing the highest growths of parquet consumption, followed by the Czech Republic, Austria and France. Parquet consumption in the Southern European markets such as Italy and Spain is also progressing though to a lesser extent. FEP: “The political situation in Spain and the coming elections in Italy are somewhat limiting the positive developments already observed last year.” The Nordic market (Denmark, Finland and Norway) remains stable after years of turbulences.

This prognosis is based on information received from representatives present at the board meeting held at the Domotex fair in Hannover. Consolidated results will follow after the federation’s general assembly next June in Sorrento, Italy.

FEP continues: “Although the issue seems less acute than in the previous years, the captains of the parquet industry report difficulties in wood procurement, particularly for oak. FEP regrets to notice limitations to wood market access in Russia, Belarus and, especially Ukraine, which has a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU, and Croatia, which is part of the EU28 and its Internal Market.” Finally, the FEP board of directors again underlines the tough competition from ‘wood look flooring substitutes’ and what it calls “the widespread misuse of the parquet denomination which is causing a growing and unjust confusion at consumer level.”

FEP/GFA, January 2018

EPLF: Laminate flooring market stable in 2017
In 2017, manufacturers in the EPLF association achieved worldwide sales of laminate flooring made in Europe totalling 477 million m² (2016: 477 million m²). The global laminate market is therefore maintaining its position. The EPLF ‘home market’ of Western Europe continued to decline in 2017, whilst Asia again registered the biggest growth. North America and Latin America also showed an upward trend in 2017, and in Eastern Europe the Russian market in particular saw gains.

In Western Europe (including Turkey), total sales for 2017 reached 243 million m² (previous year: 250 million m²), which represents a drop of 2.9%. Germany remains by far the major single market in Central Europe with 57 million m² (p.y. 63 million m²) – albeit with a 10% decline caused by the continuing trend towards substitution with thermoplastic flooring. France continues to occupy. second place in Europe, demonstrating a slight improvement for 2017 with 37.6 million m² (p.y. 37.4 million m²).

The United Kingdom continued the positive trend for EPLF members: a figure of 33.8 million m² (p.y. approx. 33 million m²) was recorded for 2017, an increase of 2.5%. This again puts the UK in third place ahead of Turkey, where association revenues continued to decline in 2017: sales figures for Turkey fell by 9.2% down to 24.9 million m² (p.y. 27.5 million m²). The Netherlands stands firmly in fifth place with slightly increased sales figures of 19.7 million m² (p.y. 19.3 million m²). Again, Spain follows on behind at a stable level of just under 17 million m² (p.y. 17 million m²).

For Eastern Europe, the increase in 2017 was slightly smaller than in the previous year. This region is nevertheless still a major growth market for EPLF manufacturers – at 128 million m² (p.y. 126 million m²), European laminate manufacturers there achieved an increase of 1.9%. In 2017, EPLF members in Russia reported sales of 35 million m² (p.y. 34 million m²), which corresponds to a growth rate of 5.2%. Poland achieved just under 31 million m² in 2017 (p.y. 31 million m²), a steady result. Behind them: Romania, Ukraine, Hungary and Bulgaria.

North America continues to be a strong growth region for sales of European laminate flooring: at 49 million m² (p.y. 47 million m²), around 4.7% more was sold there in 2017 than in the previous year. At around 32 million m² for 2017 (p.y. 29 million m²), the USA saw a gain of 8.1%, whilst Canada recorded just under 18 million m² for 2017 (p.y. 18.1 million m²).

The biggest increase in 2017 was again achieved in the Asia-Pacific region, where EPLF producers reached total sales for 2017 of over 29 million m² (p.y. 27 million m²), thereby gaining an increase over the previous year of around 8.7%.

The Latin America region is again managing to increase its EPLF sales statistics: 2017 saw a 3% growth with sales of 17.7 million m² (p.y. 17 million m²). Figures for Chile, the largest single market, rose by 4.6% compared with the previous year and came to 7.7 million m² (p.y. 7.3 million m²).

EPLF total sales 2007-2017

EPLF/GFA, January 2018

Sales records modular multilayer floorings
According to the Multilayer Modular Flooring Association (MMFA) extrapolation for 2017, the upward trend of modular multilayer floorings continues. According to the MMFA forecast, annual increase rates of 10 to 15% are also possible in the overall MMF market in the next three years.

In Central Europe the floorings in the MMFA Class 1, i.e. products based on wood-based panels (HDF) continue to determine the market: in 2017, the MMFA manufacturers in this class accounted for over 80% of sales in Germany, Austria and Switzerland alone, and a further 14% in the other West European states. “In 2017, our members in the MMFA Class 1 may have broken through the ten million square metres mark for the first time ever,” says MMFA marketing official Sebastian Wendel.

The MMFA also registered annually increasing sales figures for MMFA Class 2 products (polymer or polymer-composite substrate with polymer surface layer and/or lacquer). However, due to the growth in members, more producers are now reporting their quantities in Class 2. Compared to Class 1, the regional distribution in Class 2 looks rather different: on the more than 50 million m2, which were sold worldwide by the members in 2017 according to the MMFA extrapolation, around 23 million m2 were sold in North America and almost 22 million m2 in West Europe. In West Europe the MMFA members thus accounted for an almost 40% share of the total market for Class 2 products – and the trend continues to rise.

In the MMFA Class 3 (all other build-ups, which do not fall under Class 1 or 2 or external standards – e.g. organic wear layers or mineral core materials), due to cartel law provisions that affect at least five reporting firms, no data can be published for 2017.

MMFA specifies that Class 1 consists of: all products with wood-based substrates (≥ 65% content of wood particles/fibres in the core) with polymer or cork surface layer (cork thickness > 2.5 mm). Class 2: polymer or polymer-composite substrate with polymer surface layer and/or lacquer. Subclass 2A: LVT click (EN10582 and EN 16511) – hot pressed and/or calendered. Subclass 2B: all other polymer substrates (EPC: expanded polymer core, and SPC: solid polymer core). Class 3: all products not covered by class 1 or 2, or external standards. Class 3, for example, covers modules using a click system and textile surface or those on a mineral core. As of 1 January 2018 the Multilayer Modular Flooring Association has 22 ordinary members, 24 associate members and two sponsor members.

MMFA/GFA, January 2018