Brilliant year 2021
The year 2021 was really positive for the producers of wood and furniture technology. This trend was reaffirmed by the Studies Office of Acimall, the association of Italian manufacturers of wood and furniture technology: production amounted to 2,530 million euro, up by 36.9 percent compared to 2020 and by 11.6 percent versus 2019.
Excellent results also for export, reaching 1,740 million euro (plus 30.8 percent over 2020; plus 10.1 percent over 2019), with a domestic market showing signs of liveliness (790 million euro, up by 52.5 percent over 2020 and 15.1 percent over 2019).
Import also increased, reaching 244 million euro, 59.4 percent more than 2020 and 21.4 percent more than 2019.
According to tradition, driven by the strong propensity to export of Italian companies, the trade balance was also positive, with a value of 1,496 million euro (plus 27.1 percent over 2020, plus 8.5 percent over 2019). Apparent consumption also increased: 1,034 million euro, up by 54.1 percent over 2020 and 16.5 percent over 2019.
“The 2021 numbers speak for themselves and show that the technology industry has come out of two difficult years and is back to pre-Corona pandemic levels,” said Dario Corbetta, director of Acimall. “The government incentives have certainly played an important role, but they have not fundamentally ‘changed’ the market trend: the growth we are seeing now is not only due to the incentives. After all, in a capital goods industry, these ultimately only lead to a concentration of investment decisions within a narrow time frame. Rather, we are seeing a significant market recovery that has brought companies back to their normal development patterns.”
“We would therefore like to reassure those who fear that the current trend is fundamentally ‘distorted’ by the incentives and that once this window of opportunity closes, we will be faced with stagnant demand,” Corbetta continued. “This assumption is supported by the economic figures for the first months of 2022, which clearly point to structural growth in our industry that will last.”
The consolidated figures for 2021 allow further conclusions to be drawn about Italian exports, which have increased compared with 2020 and 2019. Looking at the current situation, it can be seen that the Russia-Ukraine crisis has so far caused only a limited decline in Italian exports. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus together account for only a small portion of Italian exports, about five percent, and export flows to these countries appear to be continuing, albeit with a significant decline.
Many woodworking machines are not listed in the category of dual-use equipment that can be used to manufacture war materiel, so they are not subject to the current embargo, while all spare parts are subject to restrictions. Currently, despite some difficulties, banking operations have not been interrupted, and some Russian institutions continue to operate.
Looking at the figures for 2021, it is easy to establish a ranking of countries interested in wood and furniture technology “Made in Italy”, which is not surprising. The ranking confirms the stability of the regions where Italian products are highly appreciated.
The top position is taken by the United States (164.2 million euro, plus 13.9 percent over 2020), followed by France (118.2 million, plus 10.3 percent) and Poland (110.6 million euro, plus 34 percent). Germany is at number four in the list of “customer countries”, with an expenditure of 106.3 million euro on Italian machinery, up by 11 percent compared to 2020. Then come the United Kingdom (81.3 million, plus 56 percent), Spain (76.2 million, plus 62.3 percent), Russia (67.3 million, plus 102.4 percent) and China, placing orders in Italy for 60.1 million euro, the only country in the top-ten list with a negative trend by 19 percent.
The list is completed by Belgium (in ninth place with 56.6 million euros, up 18.4 percent) and Austria (54.5 million, up 36.6 percent) in tenth place.
In conclusion, all figures indicate that the positive trend will continue in the current fiscal year 2022, although supply chain disruptions and unforeseen events related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the development of the global Covid 19 pandemic could reshuffle the cards.
“We’re now looking forward to ‘Xylexpo’ next October,” sums up Dario Corbetta, “which will be a great opportunity to review the status quo of our industry and the evolution of international trade flows.”