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German furniture remains popular worldwide

Graphic: Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM)

Global demand for furniture made in Germany is continuing to grow. The European market remains its main destination. But with growth of more than 25 per cent, China may soon catch up with the top destinations for German furniture exports.

In the first half of 2018, German furniture exports rose by 2.2 per cent to approximately Euro 5.5 billion. “With a share of just under 70 per cent of total exports, the European Union remains the main outlet for German furniture manufacturers, although the highest rates of growth were achieved outside Europe,” says Jan Kurth, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM).

The German furniture industry has more than doubled its export share since 2000. Almost one third of German furniture production is now exported. The most important sales markets are neighbouring France and Switzerland, which each account for more than ten per cent of total exports. They are followed by Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Belgium. These countries account for between five and ten per cent of exports each. The two largest furniture markets worldwide are the USA (4.7 per cent) and China (3.2 per cent). With the high rates of growth these two markets are currently showing, they may well soon enter the leading destinations for furniture made in Germany. German furniture exports to the USA grew by 9.5 per cent in the first half of 2018 compared to the first half of 2017, while exports to China rose by 25.9 per cent. Other markets outside the EU such as Russia, Canada, Mexico and Japan are also becoming increasingly important, even if their share of German furniture exports is still relatively low at the moment. “Exports will expand to become the most important engine of growth for the German furniture industry in coming years,” says Kurth.