The European furniture industry manufacturing industry began to turn to Eastern Europe and China

Jul 01 , 2022

Europe is the center of the global furniture industry. Currently, the 27 EU countries have a total output value of 99.3 billion euros (market size of 140 billion US dollars) and employ 1 million people. European furniture production and consumption account for about 40% of the total global furniture production and total consumption. Many European countries have played an important role in the international furniture trade. There are 4 countries in the top 10 furniture exporters: Italy, Germany, France and Denmark; Seven of the top 10 furniture importers are located: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria.

Today, in the process of global economic integration, European furniture is undergoing unprecedented changes. The rise of The furniture industry in Asia, especially in China, has impacted the world furniture industry. European furniture enterprises have a long history of building factories, aging industry, not adapted to today's fierce market competition environment, the furniture industry in many countries shrinks, some transfer outwards, some no longer engage in the furniture industry, and some go bankrupt. In the past 10 years, the European furniture industry has undergone great changes in the following aspects: furniture manufacturing industry to Eastern Europe and China to Transfer European furniture production countries, such as Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and other countries due to high labor prices (labor costs account for 30% of the total cost), enterprises have transferred to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and other countries in Eastern Europe, Polish and Romanian workers only 0.4 euros per hour Wages, only one-tenth of Germany.

In addition to the transfer to Eastern Europe, these countries have established joint ventures or wholly-owned enterprises in China. Italy, in particular, has established many large furniture companies in China. Italy's first, second and third largest sofa manufacturers have established factories in China. Among them, the second largest sofa manufacturer, Delillo, has a factory of 350,000 square meters and 5,500 employees in Guangdong, and has played the slogan of "Italian quality, Chinese prices, American market". In 2006, the company's exports to China amounted to $500 million.

Kaval Group, The second largest company in Europe and the largest furniture company in France, has established a joint venture with Shunde District, with annual sales of 1 billion yuan after three years.

British Ruishi Investment Group, headquartered in London, Asia management center is located in Ningbo, China, there are two major production bases in Zhejiang, with a total investment of 2 billion yuan, a factory area of 300,000 square meters, an annual output of more than 200,000 sets of kitchen furniture.

The rise of the furniture industry in China and Southeast Asia has been reducing its market share year by year, resulting in the GRADUAL LOSS OF MARKET SHARE IN THE EU FURNITURE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY FROM THE UNITED STATES AND JAPAN. China's share in the European furniture import market soared from 6% in 1999 to 48% in 2004, and Chinese furniture mainly grabbed Italy's share in the international market. For example, in the Friuli Chair Triangle in Italy, more than a thousand chair manufacturers have gathered, and the annual output has reached 40 million. At that time, 1 in 3 chairs in the world was made of Italian products. For this, Italians have been proud for half a century. Today, under the impact of the Chinese chair, its prosperity is no longer glorious. Friuli's furniture companies fell by 25 percent, from 1,200 to 900, and production fell by 30 percent, from 2 billion euros to 1.4 billion euros. The American "Time" magazine exclaimed that Angie snatched the position of "chair king" in the Italian world. In 2003, China replaced Canada and Italy as the largest sellers of exports to the United States. In 2004, China replaced Italy's exports to Japan as the "overlord" of its original status. In 2005, China seized the throne of Italy's first export. In 2006, China replaced Italy as France's largest supplier. In the same year, in the American market, the dominant position of traditional Italian upholstered furniture was replaced by China. In 2006, Italy exported 1/3 less soft sofas to the United States than the previous year, and chairs decreased by 1/4, and the export value was lower than that of Vietnam, only 994.8 million US dollars. Italy has been squeezed into 5th place by Vietnam, with exports down 21.4 percent.

In the 14 years from 1992 to 2006, the share of U.S. imports from the Asia-Pacific region increased from 45 percent to 69 percent. Europe has slipped from 20 percent of U.S. imports in the past 14 years to 9 percent, losing 11 percent of its share.

Imports from Asia continue to rise Italy, the first and second largest european furniture countries, and the decline in the German furniture industry and the stagnation of exports have forced a large number of imports. According to the data, in the past 10 years in 15 European countries, the proportion of furniture imports has increased year by year. It accounted for 6% in 1995, 9% in 1998, 13% in 2001, 15% in 2003 and 20% in 2007. At present, thousands of independent retailers in Europe (1800 in Italy and 3000 in Germany) want to import furniture directly from Asia. Because the sales profit is quite substantial, the sales price increases by 3-4 times back to the home country. Chinese furniture exports to European countries account for more than 20% of total exports. The UK has become the second largest country in China's export ranks, with exports worth $1.515 billion and Germany at $875 million. China's exports to EU countries are also relatively concentrated in Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Belgium, and the above 7 countries account for more than 80% of all exports to the EU.

Europe has lost part of the market share of the United States and Japan, and in turn, Europe has seized the Chinese market with high-end brands. China's middle class is rapidly rising. These rich people live in villas, consume famous brands, and need high-end furniture. China's first-tier cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other places have top brand furniture from Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, most of the products are expensive. About 200 brands in Europe have entered the Chinese market. Among the top brands are the Spanish royal family, the French president's "royal" furniture, the Italian court, the British royal family and so on. There are nearly 20 "century-old stores" brands in Europe.

European high-end furniture not only has a market in China's first-tier cities, but also in second-tier cities. In March 2008, China (Ningbo) Fine Furniture Exhibition, Italy and Spain imported furniture pavilion 4-day exhibition period of 35 million yuan. A lotus-shaped dining table with a price tag of 750,000 yuan and which won the gold medal at the 2007 Milan Furniture Fair was sold half an hour after its launch.

Europe's weakness and strengths Europe's weakness lies in the insufficient supply of raw materials, the dispersion of the industry structure, many of which are small companies, high labor costs, an aging population, a lack of skilled workers, patents and intellectual property rights are often copied, not well protected, and so on.

Europe's advantage is that per capita furniture consumption is high, and the per capita furniture consumption in developed countries in Europe reaches 239 US dollars (the world average is only 65 US dollars). The EU-27 countries, together with Norway, Switzerland and North America, own 20% of the world's population but consume 68% of the world's furniture.

The editor-in-chief of The German "Furniture Market" magazine said that the EU has 27 member states and has huge market potential. He suggested that the best way for Chinese companies to enter the European market is to find partners in Europe, especially Germany (which is the largest market in Europe), and it will be more effective and direct for local people to expand the market.

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