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Germany Trends in The Wood Sector  

16 May, 2005

Germany Trends in the wood sector  

Speaking at the opening of "interzum cologne 2005", the leading fair for the furniture industry's supplying sector, Mr. Dirk-Uwe Klaas, Managing Director of VDM-National Association of German Furniture Industries, underlined the crucial importance of innovation for all companies aiming to survive in a ever more severe competitive market place. 

There is no other way but for manufacturing companies supplying the furniture industry to keep a steady high innovative profile, which also means high quality, eco-sustainability, eco-friendly use, attractive aesthetic content and use of advanced technologies.  

Despite the poor general business and economic situation, "interzum 2005" was once more a platform where product innovations were presented by international exhibitors (73% of total exhibitors came from outside Germany) to international trade visitors (70% of foreign share visitors from 132 countries). 

The high proportion of foreign visitors at the fair was in contrasted to the decline in the number of visitors from Germany. A total of 49,000 visitors attended the fair this year (54,000 in 2003).

The headlines from "interzum 2005" are: (i) design is of utmost importance for the furniture and interior decoration supplying industry, with emphasis on technical innovation and highest functionality; (ii) good fittings improve the handling quality of furniture and the movement ease of each furniture part so are very important; (iii) good drawer systems allow more storage space, as well as effective and safer use; (iv) soft stopper mechanisms on cupboard doors are a must; (v) trendy high pressure laminates and decorative papers are now mimicing metals, translucent surfaces, water-like reflexes, old-fashion appearance, '50s, '60s and '70s look; (vi) the 3D real wood veneer allows unprecedented natural design, while exotic wood veneers are still in demand; (vii) "fixing and gluing" comes ahead of "using metal fasteners and screws"; (viii) antibacterial worktops ensure full hygiene in the kitchen; (ix) breathable yet dirt-repellent, washable fibres are gaining ground; and finally there is an increasing use of honeycomb panels for kitchen cabinets and worktops.    

Trends in the wood sector  

According to the latest VDM statistics, Germany's wood and furniture industry in 2004 saw total sales amounting to Euro 37 billion, a 3% increase on 2003 (first increase for the last three years). January and February 2005 seem to confirm the same business trend as in 2004.  Total sales are stable or show a slight decline. In 2004 the wood industry as a whole boasted a better performance than the furniture industry, growing 5.3%.  

Manufacturers of wooden houses, doors, windows and wood flooring recorded a fall in sales while manufacturers of particleboard, plywood, MDF, OSB and other wood-based panels recorded positive growth ( +13.2%) in 2004 over the previous year and producers of wood packaging and pallets also recorded a very good result: +14.3%. 

Total sales of the German furniture industry in 2004 amounted to Euro 20.1 billion,up 1.4% on 2003 but the number of employees in the furniture industry fell by 7% in 2004.

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