News 2011- archive

Almost one in two European households has wooden floor

Ceramic floors are the most popular floors in European homes, followed by wooden floors and laminate. The economic climate does affect consumers’ spending on flooring solutions but has not impacted the demand for parquet.

Furthermore, 6 out of 10 people want to change floors in their home, especially in their living room, bedroom and kitchen. People associate a wooden floor with a natural and warm feeling; following the ecological and authenticity trend, and consider it a good investment on the long run. These are conclusions from the European Consumer Survey on Parquet, conducted by InSites Consulting in 7 European Countries commissioned by the FEP (the European Federation of the Parquet Industry).

Ceramic floors are the most popular type of floors in Europe, installed in 90% of the houses or apartments. Runner up is the wooden floor (46%), followed by laminate (33%). Carpet (24%) and vinyl (16%) are the least popular and lose market share. The popularity of wooden floors is different from country to country. Top country is Sweden, where wooden floors are to be found in 8 out of 10 homes. Also Poland (71%) and Austria (65%) like wooden floors. Spanish houses or apartments have the least wooden floors (17%). “In all countries we see a small uplift of the market share of wooden floors over the last 2 years. The negative economic climate is esteemed to impact one’s spending power on flooring solutions but shows no impact on the appeal of parquet. To the contrary,” according to InSites Consulting.

61% of European households consider changing or buying floors in the upcoming 3 years. Especially the living room, bedroom and kitchen are subject to change. 39% would take wooden floors, while only ceramic stone shows more potential with 46%. A store visit has most impact on the actual decision process of consumers. Information on maintenance and cleaning of the floor is crucial, as well as actual floor samples. Also important when making their decision on which floor to buy is the opinion of others (38%) and their own previous experiences (41%). Over the last years the researchers have observed that consumers are paying more attention to expert opinions when making a decision on flooring solutions. This is reflected in the observation that consumers prefer buying parquet at a specialist dealer (45%) above a DIY store (39%). Still, currently installed floors were most often purchased in DIY stores after consultation of professional stores. “People prefer to visit professional stores as they value the expert opinion. It is no surprise that consumers are most satisfied about the specialist dealers (81%) compared to DIY stores (71%),” explains Christophe Vergult, Managing partner at InSites Consulting.

Looking at trends, the researchers say they see that people care a lot about the decoration of the house or the apartment they live in. 87% agrees that a floor they like is important in their house. People who care for authenticity prefer real products over fake copies, even if they cost more; they more often choose wooden floors. This doesn’t mean that budget is not an issue, InSites Consulting remarks. Especially in Southern Europe the crisis is still around. This has resulted in a higher price sensitiveness of parquet. A wooden floor is associated with providing a natural and warm feeling. This is less the case with laminate, ceramic or natural stone, vinyl, concrete or carpet. Consumers increasingly value certain functional characteristics of wooden floors, such as ease of installation and maintenance which contributes to the overall appeal of wooden floors.

These survey data result from a market survey conducted by InSites Consulting under the order of the FEP (the European Federation of the Parquet Industry) in April 2011. The European Consumer Survey on Parquet provides an overview of the market structure, potential, knowledge and perception of different floors, as well as the buying process, purchasing reasons and expectations. In total, 5.610 consumers took part in this online survey in 7 countries: France, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Austria and Italy. The figures are representative for each country and for Europe, according to age (25-70) and gender.

GFA/InSites Consulting, July 2011

FEP: On the road to recovery

Further amplifying the January forecast of the European Federation of the Parquet Industry (FEP) issued at the start of Domotex, the data provided by member companies and affiliated national associations indicate a positive development - after two difficult years - in the ranks of the European Parquet Industry and a growth in both production and consumption volumes.

Compared to the previous year, the total production in 2010 increased by 4.11%, whereas the overall consumption figures point to an even stronger growth of 6.81%. According to FEP, the reasons for this promising tendency reversal can be found in the general economic upswing witnessed in the past year, the strong performance of some of the largest markets and the better than expected global result of the parquet industry in the Euro Area towards the end of last year. The total production in FEP territory rose to a volume of 70,300,000 m2. Important increases, particularly in Germany, Austria and the Nordic countries, but also in the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic had a major impact on the positive development of the entire sector.

As regards the 2010 total parquet production per type, multilayer remains at a stable level with 78%. Solid, including lamparquet, is adding 1% to reach 20%, whereas mosaic is declining by 1% to now 2% of the total cake. The usage of wood species in 2010 indicates that oak is advancing further to reach a spectacular 65.2% of the total, tropical wood species are again regressing significantly to a mere 7.5%. Ash and beech are now again in an upward motion with 6.8% and 6.3% respectively.

Consumption in the FEP area also grew by 6.81%, to a level of 92,945,000 m2. Important increases are witnessed especially in the Nordic cluster, Germany and France.

“The future looks encouraging,” FEP predicts. However: “The general upswing is regretfully not uniform for all markets within the FEP area – some are doing rather well, others are however still fighting hard to at least stabilize the situation even if this is sometimes taking place at a low level. Amongst the economic indicators that the European Commission is constantly monitoring there is one which is refusing to follow the general trend: yes, the construction sector. In addition, the raw material prices are increasing, the Euro is still (too) strong versus the USD and our industry continues the fierce fight with cheap imports on a playing field which is frequently neither level nor fair.”
Statistics 2010 FEP
GFA/FEP, May 2011

EFPI issues imports statistics for 2010

The European Federation of Parquet Importers (EFPI) recently released its statistics on sales of wood flooring in Europe for 2010. The data compiled reveals a total volume of 6,713,531 m2 of imports of wood flooring for 2010. In particular, imports of engineered floors amount to 6,155,524 m2 and imports of solid flooring is 558,007 m2.

Engineered products still represent the vast majority (92%) of EFPI’s business, while solid wood flooring count for 8% of the import market. Although an exact comparison cannot be made with previous years due to the changed sample for the calculation of the statistics, figures show that the outlook is moderately positive for European imports, according to EFPI. Looking at the same group of companies in 2009 and in 2010 EFPI registers a slight increase of imports, which is seen as a positive achievement given the trading conditions prevailing. “The 2010 data confirms our members determination and hard work in overcoming the economic crisis which plagued Europe in recent years. We are committed to increasing our imports at a steady pace and service Europe’s demand for our products,” commented the President of EFPI, Mr. Jürgen Früchtenicht. The data for the statistics for 2010 was gathered among the EFPI members: Amorim Revestimentos, Westco, Global Flooring Alliance (14 importers), Fetim, Oscar Peschardt & Co., PlyQuet representing 19 companies in total engaged in the import and distribution of wood parquet flooring in Europe.

GFA/EFPI, March 2011

FEP: ‘Horizon brightening for European Parquet Industry’

Following two years during which the EU parquet producers faced a decline of their sales, FEP (European Federation of the Parquet Industry) in Brussels now estimates that the general picture at EU level is ‘gradually and steadily’ improving.

This indication is based on preliminary information received from FEP member companies according to which consumption on the European market stabilised in 2010. FEP: “The reversal of the past trend fuels the hope that better times are ahead for the parquet industry and that cautious optimism towards the future is opportune.” Compiled data presently available suggest a stabilisation of the total consumption in the EU/EFTA area at around 95 million m2. In conformity with past forecasts at this stage, FEP however wishes to underline that full statistical figures will yet be communicated at the General Assembly of the European Parquet Industry in May.

Available forecasts also point to a stabilisation of parquet production in the EU, though FEP wants to emphasise that the situation at EU level is rather diverse and that important differences exist between the member countries. “The long awaited improvement was visible throughout last year, though it has to be underscored that the upward curve has not been stable at all times and that the performances substantially vary from country to country. The influence of the large markets remains a decisive factor for the global figures, whereby it is encouraging to witness the positive rebound in Germany and the gradual consolidation in France. The situation in Spain still remains a point of concern, though here too some tendencies to the better are slowly emerging.”

“It is evident,” FEP continues, “that the constantly improving economic climate and the generally somewhat stronger dollar versus the euro impacted favourably on the parquet business as well. The financial turmoil of 2009 has progressively slackened, bringing about a growth of overall investment readiness. Nevertheless, it is still premature to shout victory and companies are vigilant in selecting the right steps for their future business ventures. This cautious approach is fuelled by the persisting pressure from highly competitive low-cost countries, whereby the quest for a fair level playing field for EU competitors leaves a lot to be desired. High energy prices, unemployment figures that are still high in certain countries, as well as a constant and affordable raw material supply are additional points of concern for the industry.” FEP Chairman Lars Gunnar Andersen nevertheless says he is “confident that the parquet industry, in spite of the many challenges it faces, will also find the right tools to profit from the better business surroundings and strengthen its foundation towards the future.”

GFA/FEP, January 2011

EPLF reports global upswing on laminate flooring market

Member firms of the EPLF (European Producers of Laminate Flooring) achieved sales of 479 million m2 last year. “The economic crisis has been surmounted and there is a global upswing in the laminate flooring business,” according to EPLF. The year went so well that the association was able to record 2010 as the second best year in its history. Better results were only achieved in 2007, the year before the crisis.

In 2010, the 21 ordinary EPLF member companies sold more than 479 million m2 of European produced laminate flooring (443 million m2 in the previous year). This accounts for an increase of global market sales by 8.1% in 2010. The Western European core markets of the European laminate flooring industry remained stable during the crisis. They were even able to record a slight increase: sales rose from 285 million m2 in 2009, to 299 million m2 in 2010, which represents an increase of 4.9%. In 2010, Germany experienced a slight deficit. However, it remains the largest European single market with 83 million m2 (85 million m2 in the previous year) and is at the helm of the Western European markets in terms of ranking.

Turkey, which is included in EPLF statistics for Western Europe, now comes in second with 52 million m2 (36 million m2 in the previous year). On the one hand, this result can be attributed to the Turkish EPLF member companies, on the other hand, however, to the high economic growth in the country located on the Bosporus. With 40 million m2 (39 million m2 in the previous year), France was able to record a slight increase and is now claiming a good third place. With 29 million m2 (33 million m2 in the previous year), Great Britain drops to fourth place, while the Netherlands are maintaining a stable 5th place, with 21 million (21 million m2 in the previous year).

Also rather positive, according to EPLF, is the development in Eastern Europe. In 2010, the producers of laminate flooring were able to record sales of 104 million m2 (97 million m2 in the previous year) in Eastern Europe, which represents an increase of 7.2 % in comparison to the previous year. This is a good result, says EPLF, especially considering that the decrease in the annual comparison of 2008/2009 represented 25%. With 28 million m2 (29 million m2 in the previous year), Poland recorded a slight drop. However, it remains at the helm of the Eastern European sales ranking. With 24 million m2 (17million m2 in the previous year), Russia is the second largest market in Eastern Europe and is increasing rapidly. Rumania comes in third and remains stable with 12 million m2 (12 million m2 in the previous year). The Ukraine and Hungary come in fourth and fifth.

North America and Asia are sales markets that are mainly served by regional suppliers, and also by EPLF member firms with local production sites. In 2010, sales in North America accounted for 41 million m2, which represents an increase in comparison to the previous year (36 million m2). The U.S. market accounts for the largest share, which, with 24 million m2, offered a slightly higher potential for European producers in 2010 (20 million m2 in the previous year). With 17 million m2 (16 million m2 in the previous year), the Canadian market continued to develop positively in 2010. In Asia, total sales of the European producers represented roughly 10 million m2 and thus showed a slight increase. This result can be mainly attributed to markets such as Israel and Iran. However, the Chinese market is slightly increasing again as well, mainly due to exports from European producers in the premium segment.

With 16 million m2 (11 million m2 in the previous year), South America comes in at the lower end of the statistics. It is quite interesting, EPLF notes, that sales are mainly distributed between two countries: Chile and Mexico. In Africa, the South African market and Egypt can be pointed out as ‘interesting’ markets. With three million m2, their sales quantities are slightly higher than those of Australia and New Zealand combined.
World Market Sales EPLF
GFA/EPLF, January 2011

Domotex 2012 to feature Woodflooring Summit

As of 2012, Domotex will focus on a special theme each year, bringing selected product categories into the limelight. “We will be kicking off our new approach with the Woodflooring Summit 2012,” says Stephan Ph. Kühne, member of the Board of Management at Deutsche Messe AG.

Kühne explains: “Our goal now is to further sharpen our aim on specific target groups so as to attract even more of the right buyers and decision-makers for our exhibitors.” The Woodflooring Summit will be dedicated entirely to laminate, parquet and other wood flooring and will feature an extensive expo with individual stands and event zones where exhibitors can convey their messages. Organizers Deutsche Messe say they are aiming to create a showcase for innovation, information and inspiration. The Woodflooring Summit was conceived in cooperation with industry associations and leading enterprises, and, according to Kühne, has met with a ‘highly positive’ response from the industry. Kühne commented: “We welcome the support received from the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) and are very pleased that other associations are also committed to playing active roles in the new summit.”
The next Domotex will take place 14 – 17 January 2012.
Domotex 2012
In 2012, Domotex will focus on wood flooring

GFA/Deutsche Messe, January 2011