News 2017

FEP: Confirmation of general market improvement
In general, the parquet business seems to experience a moderate growth during the first quarter of 2017. After several years of a subdued market situation, the trends turned positive in the recent past, the European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP) reports.

When compared to the same period of last year, the Brussels based federation explains, the first results point to a confirmation and a consolidation of these trends in most of the countries where FEP members are present. It is worth noting the positive developments in all Nordic countries, says FEP. A brief per country recap is provided below.

The Austrian market is stable despite the competition from other flooring solutions. According to Euroconstruct, the demographic development, the increasing house prices and the low interest rates are pushing private investment in residential housing. The information provided to FEP points in the direction of stable parquet sales.

The few indications available point towards a growth of 4% of the parquet consumption during the first three months of 2017, reflecting an estimated increase of 3% in the construction output for the year 2016. Construction in the 1st quarter of 2017 shows a positive trend.

The Danish construction activity has grown in 2016, especially in the residential sector. Consequently, the Danish parquet market is slightly growing by 1%.

Following several years of negative developments, the Finnish market is slowly getting out of the red zone and parquet sales remain stable. The construction output in Finland is increasing significantly for both residential and non-residential buildings.

The French market continues to experience positive developments, and parquet sales grew by an estimated 3% during the 1st quarter 2017, though there is no clear view for the future.

Data indicate that parquet sales in the first quarter of the current year remained stable, confirming the already good performance observed for the first quarter of 2016. The economic situation is positive as well as the construction activity, though it is difficult to find installers for projects.

Natural disasters and politics have led to a flat market for parquet. According to Euroconstruct, residential renovation and new non-residential buildings are increasing and only new residential construction is still declining.

The information received points to significant improvements on the Dutch market – parquet sales rose by an estimated 4% during the 1st quarter 2017. The construction sector in the Netherlands continues to improve with new residential expanding strongly.

The Norwegian market was stable in January and February while it increased in March, reflecting heavy investments in building which should benefit parquet in the future. For the whole 1st quarter 2017, sales grew by 1%.

Spanish parquet sales are stable. The residential housing sector is improving but is still far from its comfort zone. Nevertheless, for the first time since the crisis, there have been more housing starts than completions in 2016.

Compiled data point to a significant increase by 3% of the parquet sales in Sweden during the first three months of 2017. Sweden is experiencing substantial growth of construction activity thanks to the good performance of new buildings, and particularly new housing.

Information received points to stable parquet consumption in Switzerland during the first quarter of 2017. According to Euroconstruct, the residential sector is slowing down, registering zero growth in both new and renovation sub-segments after several years of expansion linked to high immigration flows and a catch-up of housing capacity.

FEP/GFA, May 2017

European parquet market consolidates growth
According to the first estimates of FEP, the European Federation of the Parquet Industry, the consumption figures of the European parquet industry, after increasing by 0.5% in 2015, progress further by 2% in 2016.

This forecast reflects an improvement in parquet sales across Europe. It should however 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 Budapest, Hungary.

As usual, the results present some variation from country to country whereby almost all countries, with the exception of Finland, show positive developments. From a regional perspective, Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands and Belgium are experiencing the highest growths, followed by France and Poland. As regards the southern European markets, Spain, which is still recovering from low levels of consumption, can count on a favourable economic context while Italy according to FEP is facing risks of a potential political and economic crisis. Austria and Germany, the largest European market, are both growing as well. The Hungarian consumption is also improving but to a lesser extent, while the Swiss parquet market remains stable.

Besides these positive trends, the captains of the parquet industry underline the growing shortage of oak, the general uncertainties about the political developments worldwide and the harsh competition from flooring alternatives - especially those with a wood look surface.

FEP/GFA, February 2017

Positive trend on laminate flooring market
In 2016, producers belonging to the EPLF (European Producers of Laminate Flooring), reported worldwide sales of 476 million m2 of laminate flooring manufactured in Europe (2015: 452 million m2). This equates to an increase of 5.6% when compared to the same period in the previous year.

Sales in Western Europe (including Turkey) in 2016 reached the figure of 249 million m2 (2015: 254 million m²), which represents a slight decrease of 1.5% compared to the previous year. With 63 million m² sold (2015: 66 million m²), a decrease of 3.6%, Germany remains by far the most important single market in Central Europe. France remained stable in 2016 with 37 million m² (previous year: 37 million m²). The United Kingdom continued its positive upward trend for EPLF members: in 2016, it registered sales of 33 million m² (p.y. 31 million m²), an increase of nearly 8%. This puts it in third place ahead of Turkey, where turnover for Association members slumped again in 2016: laminate sales fell there by approx. 15% down to 26 million m² (p.y. 31 million m²). The Netherlands can lay claim to fifth place with over 19.3 million m² (p.y. 19.1 million m²). Spain follows on behind with nearly 17 million m² (p.y. 15 million m²), an increase of 8.7%.

Once again, considerably more EPLF laminate was sold in Eastern Europe in 2016 than in the previous year – at 126 million m² (p.y. 111 million m²), European laminate floor producers in that area achieved an increase of 13.4%. In 2016, Russian members of the EPLF reported sales of nearly 34 million m² (p.y. 29 million m²), which means they achieve a growth rate of 16.7%. Poland registered nearly 31 million m² in 2016 (p.y. 28 million m²), a rise of 8.6%. An equally positive trend was seen in Romania with 13.6 million m² (p.y. 11.1 million m²). Subsequent places in the ranking are occupied by Ukraine with 6.2 million m² (p.y. 4.7 million m²) together with Hungary and Bulgaria at 5 million m² each.

In North America, the EPLF’s series of successes in European laminate flooring continues for the fourth year in a row: with 47 million m² in 2016 (p.y. 39 million m²), this region once again managed to increase its growth rate, with 22.6% more sales than in the previous year. The USA demonstrated an increase of 18% in 2016 with 29 million m² (p.y. 25 million m²) and, during the same period, Canada achieved an increase of 30% with 18 million m² (p.y. 14 million m²).

The situation looks similarly positive in Asia-Pacific, where EPLF producers reached total sales of around 27 million m² for 2016 (p.y. 17 million m²), thereby gaining an increase over the previous year of around 54%. Latin America remained broadly stable in 2016 with 17 million m² (p.y. 17 million m²). The sales figures in the largest single market of Chile rose by 7.5% in comparison with the previous year at 7.3 million m² (p.y. 6.8 million m²). Mexico recorded 4.3 million m² (p.y. 4.5 million m²).

Sales in global market regions
EPLF Sales Statistics 2016 - Western Europe

EPLF/GFA, February 2017

New EU Ecolabel
The European Commission has adopted a revised set of criteria for the product group ‘Wood-, Cork- and Bamboo-based Floor Coverings’ on January 25th 2017, in accordance with the EU Ecolabel Regulation.

The criteria were published in the Official Journal of the EU on February 2nd 2017. This step is intended to provide companies and consumers with a ‘credible’ ecolabel to promote sustainable consumption and production, enhancing circular economy within Europe.

The European Commission has designed a new product group ‘Wood-, Cork- and Bamboo-based Floor Coverings’ replacing the previous criteria for ‘Wooden Floor Coverings’, enlarging the scope of floor covering products. The new criteria require that any virgin wood, cork, bamboo and rattan in the finished products originate from certified sustainably managed forests. In addition, the Commission has introduced a new set of measures to ensure low energy consumption for manufacturing. Furthermore, the new criteria drastically limit the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) content. A significant achievement for consumer safety is banning the use of flame retardants as well as other harmful chemicals.

The criteria for ‘Wood-, Cork- and Bamboo-based Floor Coverings’ will be valid for a period of six years. Webinars and workshops in member states are planned to inform European producers how to obtain the label for their products. More information:

Sales in global market regions

EC/GFA, February 2017