Foreign trade of the German furniture industry
The German furniture industry can look back on a positive development of industry exports in recent years. While the industry export ratio - the share of direct furniture deliveries abroad in total industry sales - was still 16.3 percent in 2000, it increased to 32.2 percent by 2021. This means that German furniture manufacturers generate almost a third of their sales on foreign markets on average.
With a saturated and shrinking domestic market in the long term, strengthening export capabilities is becoming a matter of survival for the industry. On the one hand, this is due to the demographic development in Germany, which is leading to rather less total population and to an increasingly aging population. On the other hand, the ratio of German-made furniture sold in Germany to furniture imported from abroad has changed drastically over the past two decades. The share of foreign furniture sold in this country (excluding furniture parts) now amounts to almost 53 percent.
The German furniture industry's foreign trade deficit in 2021 was around 1.8 billion euros, an increase of 37 percent year-on-year. Furniture exports increased by around 15 percent and furniture imports by 18 percent. Exports must be expanded significantly in the coming years to consolidate the position of the German furniture industry.
German furniture exports up in 2021
Furniture "Made in Germany" is particularly popular abroad. Almost one in three pieces of furniture (32.2 percent) made in Germany is now exported. In 2021, sales abroad increased by just under 15 percent to almost 8.4 billion euros. The largest export market, France, developed particularly dynamically with an increase in exports of almost 26 percent. The other important markets in Europe also showed a positive trend. Sales to Switzerland were up by around 9 percent, and to Austria and the Netherlands by around 13 percent each. On the British market, there was a strong increase of 16 percent following the signing of the trade agreement with the EU. The most important non-European market for German furniture manufacturers continues to be the USA, where furniture worth 252 million euros was sold (plus 13 percent).