At Interzum fair held in May, 5-8 in Cologne, IHB-Fordaq asked the exhibitors how they estimate the current market situation. Almost all of them declared themselves more satisfied now than a year ago, with few exceptions. Only the massive wood segment seems to be in a more difficult situation than a year ago.
It was mentioned in Interzum’s press-release before the fair that the wood grain finish gains popularity in furniture and interior details. IHB-Fordaq asked industry representatives if they can confirm this statement. The responses were very mixed. However the industry has to recognize a certain tendency for wood grain surfaces. The trend for a strong individualization was generally observed. Within this tendency it is not the materials or surfaces that are of major importance, but the question whether you like it or not?
Veneer industry benefits from trend for natural-looking surfaces
If buyers prefer “wood-looking” finish, then in most cases it is of secondary importance for them if these components are made of real wood or it is just a replica on the surface. According to the answers of respondents, a certain look and feeling of the product are important. Nowadays, this trend is particularly strong when it comes to the interiors of stores. Clothing chains specified that they prefer a natural looking surface for the interior finish. Obviously, the veneer industry benefits from this trend.
Therefore, according to some producers, the downward trend which had been observed for many years was finally broken. In fact, there was registered a slight increase in sales. But the statement that sales may almost reach the 90’s level is out of question, since there are fewer requests for the surface of furniture or doors being entirely made of veneer. Veneer is more likely to be used for some little and accents of decor. However, it doesn’t apply to wooden floors. Producers of veneer that supply goods for this segment expect a strong growth.
Segment of solid wood is less optimistic
Solid wood segment is less optimistic, although in some areas there is a certain demand for solid wood. This applies to foreign markets, but even more to the European ones. In Germany, the solid wood market tends to decrease. Producers complain of the American hardwood price increase. About two and a half years ago prices in the US started going up encouraged by a higher domestic demand. The recent euro against dollar weakening only contributed to the price hike. It should actually play into the hands of hardwood sawyers, were it not for the pressure of competition from Eastern Europe and problems with procurement in the oak sector.
For the rest of 2015, the majority of market participants expect a moderate growth compared to 2014. Eastern Europe therefore becomes increasingly competitive, becoming a more professional supplier for the global market. The main countries of origin of value-added products are Poland, Czech Republic and the Baltic States. The main markets of Western Europe are France, Benelux, Great Britain and Scandinavia. The situation in Southern Europe continues to be difficult, although signs of improvement are observed in Spain and Portugal.