Foreign trade balance improved by over ten percent
The German furniture industry again improved its export business in the course of the year. By the end of the third quarter of 2019, exports had risen by around 1.98 per cent compared with the same period of the previous year, due in particular to sales to the main customer countries France (plus 6.5 per cent) and Switzerland (plus 5.8 per cent). The export volume of 8.456 billion euros is offset by imports to Germany of 9.68 billion euros. With furniture imports stagnating (plus 0.19 percent), the foreign trade balance was reduced by 10.7 percent to 1.225 billion euros.
"In a still difficult domestic market, our German manufacturers continue to successfully expand their foreign business. Even though exports of German furniture continue to be directed primarily to neighbouring countries and the European Union, new markets are becoming increasingly important. Sales to the USA increased by a gratifying 15.4 percent in the course of the year, and with an export volume of 445 million euros, the United States is now the seventh most important target market," notes Jan Kurth, Managing Director of the Federal Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM) and the Herford Furniture Trade Associations.
France remains the main export country with a share of all furniture exports of 14.4 percent. Exports to this neighbouring country rose from 1.146 to 1.22 billion euros compared with the same period last year. Exports to Switzerland also increased strongly to 871 million euros, which means that the Swiss have a market share of 10.3 percent.
Austria (787 million euros), the Netherlands (685 million euros) and Great Britain (516 million euros) hold third to fifth place in the export statistics. However, exports to these countries fell slightly, although the uncertainty surrounding Brexit could explain the noticeable 3.6 percent drop in exports to the United Kingdom.
Belgium is particularly noticeable with a growth rate of 14.2 percent (474 million euros) and the United States even with a plus of 15.4 percent (445 million euros).
The statistical analysis in the "kitchen" segment underlines the global dominance of the German kitchen furniture industry. In total, export revenues of 1.549 billion euros were generated by the third quarter of 2019, which corresponds to an increase of 0.92 percent compared to the third quarter of 2018. The focus of German export activities is France with 391 million euros and growth of 1.5 percent.
The analysis in the "Upholstery" segment according to the statistical figures as of the third quarter of 2019 is characterized by a further slowdown in the exchange of goods. In total, export revenues of EUR 516.8 million were generated, which corresponds to a decline of 2.1 percent. German export activities focus on Switzerland (121 million euros) and Austria (84.5 million euros).
In the "Housing" segment, export revenues of EUR 692.8 million were generated, corresponding to growth of 5.47 percent from the third quarter of 2019 to 2018. The focus of German export activities is again on Austria with 135 million euros (minus 0.8 percent) and Switzerland with 130 million euros (plus 1.9 percent). The export countries Netherlands (60 million euros), France (58 million euros) and the UK (52 million euros) follow by far in the next ranking.
Poland (EUR 2.557 billion) remains the undisputed main supplier of furniture and clearly holds first place, with a further 1.2 percent increase in its overall dominance - clearly marked by Polish exports of home furniture and (subordinated) upholstered furniture to Germany. This was followed by the importing countries China (1.65 million euros) and the Czech Republic (1.12 million euros). Other important import countries for the German furniture market are Italy (593 million euros) and Hungary (342 million euros).