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Export strategy of the German furniture industry

The German furniture industry can look back on a positive development in industry exports in recent years. While the industrial export quota - this is the share of direct furniture deliveries abroad in the total turnover of the industry - was still 16.3 per cent in 2000, it was doubled to 32.4 per cent by 2018. As a result, German furniture manufacturers generate an average of almost one third of their turnover on foreign markets.

With the domestic market saturated and shrinking in the long term, the strengthening of export capability will become a question of survival for the industry. On the one hand, this is due to the demographic development in Germany, which is leading to a lower total population and an ageing population. Old people tend to buy less new furniture. On the other hand, the ratio of furniture sold in Germany made in Germany to furniture imported from abroad has almost reversed over the past 18 years. In 2000, the proportion of foreign furniture sold here was 33 percent, but today it is 65 percent.

The foreign trade deficit of the German furniture industry amounted to € 1.8 billion in 2018, down 14% on the previous year. Furniture exports increased by 2.7% with furniture imports stagnating. Exports must be expanded significantly in the coming years in order to consolidate the position of the German furniture industry.

In view of the increasing importance of exports for the industry, VDM is continuing to expand its export support for companies: since October 2018, a new VDM Export Working Group has been responsible for exchanging individual manufacturers, defining the key markets and coordinating all export and trade fair activities in the industry. The know-how on the individual export markets is conveyed to furniture manufacturers in a targeted manner within the framework of information days and workshops. At the same time, practical working aids will be made available for the successful involvement of German furniture manufacturers abroad. These additional export activities are intended to help German furniture manufacturers gain further market shares on the world market.